Everyone goes through stressful periods in their life. Despite stress being commonly experienced, most people still struggle to recognize its signs and may not be equipped with the tools to deal with it.
National Stress Awareness Month was started to help raise awareness about stress. What causes it, and how can you combat stressors in your life.
What Are the Common Signs of Stress?
Stress affects people in different ways. For some, it causes a loss of energy or a lack of interest in activities that are usually enjoyed. For others, it manifests in physical symptoms like headaches or back pain.
It’s essential to listen to your body and notice how you respond to stressful events in your life. Keeping a close eye on your symptoms can help you figure out what is causing your stress and help you describe it when speaking to a doctor or therapist.
Here are some common mental and physical symptoms to look out for when monitoring your stress levels.
Common Mental Symptoms
- Panic attacks
- Difficulty making decisions
- Feeling sad or helpless
Common Physical Symptoms
- Lack of energy or chronic fatigue
- High blood pressure
- Chest pain
- Digestive issues
- Weakened immunity
- Muscle aches
- Excess sweating
The longer a person experiences stress, the more serious the effects can become. Stress often causes mental symptoms first, which can be compounded by physical issues later. If an individual experiences a significant amount of stress, they can even be at risk of severe health issues like stroke or heart disease.
Stress can also lead to unhealthy behaviors that are used as coping mechanisms. While other factors contribute, stress is often a trigger for falling back on bad habits.
Unhealthy Behaviors Caused by Stress
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Drug abuse
- Eating disorders
- Compulsive sex
- Sleepless nights
If you notice that you’re exhibiting signs of stress or are engaging in activities that are harming you physically or mentally, then seek treatment or learn how to manage your stress in a healthy way.
As a certified coach, I’ve seen it all when it comes to stress in the workplace or caused by healthcare-related issues. Whether people have difficulty dealing with change or struggle with managing conflicts, I do my best to guide them towards a place of self-care and self-acceptance. Please reach out if you want to improve your mental fitness and train yourself to cope with the regular stressors in your life.
What Are Some Ways to Combat Stress?
Remember, everyone experiences stress at some point in their life. It’s important to realize that you are never alone in this feeling, and there is always help available.
If you are feeling completely overwhelmed by stress and don’t know what to do or have thoughts of self-harm, don’t keep these feelings to yourself. Instead, speak with someone you trust or a professional therapist. Communication is key to your well-being and will help you positively express your emotions.
In addition, you can always reach out to the national suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8255.
Reframe Your Mindset
Stress is not always a negative thing when we experience it in moderation. On the contrary, it often alerts us to situations that we know aren’t good for us and pushes us to make a change. However, many people become quickly overwhelmed by stress because they feel unable to exert control over their emotional state.
This is something I often work with my clients on. I recommend taking time to reframe the situation so that you can break it down into actionable steps.
First, remember that you’re human. Everyone feels the way you do from time to time, and that’s ok.
Next, ask for help. We all could use support from time to time, either from professional counselors or loved ones.
Then, forgive yourself. Things happen that may be outside of your control. Acknowledge this and move on.
Find a healthy alternative. When you’re stressed, try to turn that negative energy towards something positive. This might be exercise, meditation, gardening, or anything else you enjoy.
If you feel that the stress is too much for you to handle on your own, do not be afraid to seek help. There’s no shame in reaching out to others around you for support.
12 Tips for Reducing Stress
Here are some tried and true methods for relieving the pressure of stress in your daily life.
- Get more exercise
- Eat a healthy diet
- Minimize screen time
- Spend time in nature
- Get more sleep
- Stretch or practice yoga
- Get a massage
- Engage in a hobby
- Reduce caffeine intake
- Spend more time with friends or family
- Stop procrastinating
- Practice mindfulness
These may seem like simple ideas, but they work. Just remember that everyone is different, so take time to discover what works best for you.