Stress Management

If any of the following symptoms apply to you, you must see a specialist.

  • I am often restless and irritable
  • I am having irregular sleep patterns- either too much or not enough
  • I don't enjoy hobbies, my friends, family or leisure activities any more
  • I have aches and pains that do not get better no matter what I do
  • I can't control my anger
  • My weight has changed a considerable amount
  • I have had several of the symptoms I checked above for more than two weeks
  • I feel that my functioning in my everyday life is suffering because I am feeling stressed
  • I have family history of depression and/or mental health illness
  • I have thought about suicide

If any of the following symptoms apply to you, you must see a specialist.

  • Psychiatric Evaluation Medication Management Individual Therapy
  • Family Therapy Group Therapy Employee De-stress
  • Grief Counselling Health Education Neurological De-Stress

Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you feel threatened, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormonesand including adrenaline and cortisol, which rouse the body for emergency action. Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper.

These physical changes increase your strength and stamina, speed your reaction time, and enhance your focus. This is known as the “fight or flight” or mobilization stress response and is your body’s way of protecting you.

When stress is within your comfort zone, it can help you to stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life—giving you extra strength to defend yourself, for example, or spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident. Stress can also help you rise to meet challenges.

CAUSES

The situations and pressures that cause stress are known as stressors. We usually think of stressors as being negative, such as an exhausting work schedule or a rocky relationship. However, anything that puts high demands on you can be stressful. This includes positive events such as getting married, buying a house, going to college, or receiving a promotion.

Of course, not all stress is caused by external factors. Stress can also be internal or self-generated, when you worry excessively about something that may or may not happen, or have irrational, pessimistic thoughts about life.

Common external causes of stress

  • Major life changes
  • Work or school
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Financial problems
  • Being too busy
  • Children and family

Common internal causes of stress

  • Chronic worry
  • Pessimism
  • Rigid thinking, lack of flexibility
  • Negative self-talk
  • Unrealistic expectations/Perfectionism
  • All-or-nothing attitude

SYMPTOMS

Stress can affect all aspects of your life, including your emotions, behaviors, thinking ability, and physical health. No part of the body is immune. But, because people handle stress differently, symptoms of stress can vary. Symptoms can be vague and may be the same as those caused by medical conditions. So it is important to discuss them with your doctor. You may experience any of the following symptoms of stress.

Emotional symptoms of stress include:

  • Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
  • Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control
  • Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
  • Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and depressed
  • Avoiding others

Physical symptoms of stress include:

  • Low energy
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
  • Aches, pains, and tense muscles
  • Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent colds and infections
  • Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
  • Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet
  • Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
  • Clenched jaw and grinding teeth

Cognitive symptoms of stress include:

  • Constant worrying
  • Racing thoughts
  • Forgetfulness and disorganization
  • Inability to focus
  • Poor judgment
  • Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side

Behavioral symptoms of stress include:

  • Changes in appetite -- either not eating or eating too much
  • Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities
  • Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
  • Exhibiting more nervous behaviors, such as nail biting, fidgeting, and pacing

What Are the Consequences of Long-Term Stress?

  • A little stress every now and then is not something to be concerned about. Ongoing, chronic stress, however, can cause or exacerbate many serious health problems, including: Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and personality disorders
  • Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks, and stroke
  • Obesity and other eating disorders
  • Menstrual problems
  • Sexual dysfunction, such as impotence and premature ejaculation in men and loss of sexual desire in both men and women
  • Skin and hair problems, such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema, and permanent hair loss
  • Gastrointestinal problems, such as GERD, gastritis, ulcerative colitis, and irritable colon

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