Our lives are a complex mass of relationships, meetings, schedules, and obligations. Some of these are pleasant and bring a sense of joy to our lives, while others require a lot of effort to manage and handle. Sometimes you must deal with tight deadlines, tension in a relationship, or a situation that you can’t see a way out of. When you encounter these and other situations, stress is often the result. You have to learn to manage stress.

Making sense of stress

Stress is caused by a difficult situation that overwhelms you or creates strain. This might include the following situations:

  • The death of a spouse or close family member.
  • Coping with a serious illness.
  • Getting married or divorced.
  • Starting a new job.
  • Getting laid off from work.
  • Problems at work like workplace conflict or tight deadlines.
  • Facing retirement.
  • Having a baby or adopting a child.
  • Financial problems.
  • Moving.
  • Relationship conflict.

Stress is a natural response to difficult situations that causes a state of worry or physical and mental tension. These situations can make you feel angry, frustrated, or nervous. We all experience stress in one way or another, and stress can help prompt us to address problems and challenges in our lives.

Stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing – in a short burst, stress can be positive because it helps you to meet a deadline or avoid a dangerous situation. Over the long term, however, it can damage your health.

There are two main types of stress: acute stress, and chronic stress. Acute stress refers to short-term stress that may be intense but goes away relatively quickly. For example, this is the feeling you get when a car speeds down the road and you race to cross the street quickly, or when you argue with a loved one.

Chronic stress, on the other hand, is stress that lingers for a while. This is linked to issues that have a long lifespan, like having money troubles, a difficult job, or a relationship that’s mired in conflict and unhappiness. Chronic stress is thus stress that lasts for weeks or months, and it can have a detrimental effect on your health. Such stress may begin to feel normal, but it needs to be addressed or else it’ll impact your health significantly.

Stress makes your body alert for danger, but when it is on high alert for too long, that introduces the risk of certain health problems such as cardiac disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, anxiety, depression, menstrual problems, and skin issues such as eczema or acne.

Ways to manage stress

When stress becomes normalized in your life, it can be dangerous. While stress is a common experience, you must deal with it in the unique ways available and suitable for you, to minimize its impact on your health. Dealing with stress requires focusing on changing the circumstances that are the underlying cause of stress. Likewise, you can use therapy, medication, and various relaxation techniques to cope with stress.

Stress is inevitable because life will never go according to plan all the time. However, it is manageable, and you can take active steps to deal with stress and minimize the impact it has on your overall health and well-being. Some of the ways you can help yourself in dealing with stress include recognizing the signs of stress and burnout so that you can begin to pull back if you need to.

Additionally, by getting regular exercise, you can boost your mental health and deal with any stress buildup in your body. Exercise releases mood boosting neurochemicals that help you have a general sense of well-being. Other forms of self-care include making sure you get adequate, quality sleep, that you eat a balanced diet, and that you incorporate practices such as mindfulness and gratitude into your life.

It may also be helpful for you to learn certain practices that can help reduce stress in your life. These include better time management at work to reduce projects running too close to deadlines, being willing and able to say no and to have healthy boundaries, and additionally taking breaks to rest during the day and in your week.

Other ways to manage stress include talk therapy and medication, where needed. Talk therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy can help with identifying and transforming unhealthy patterns of thought and behavior that feed into your stress. Working with a counselor can also help you learn how to set and assert your boundaries, which is an important tool in stress reduction and management.

Other therapies such as mindfulness-based stress reduction make use of mindfulness and meditation to help you reduce stress. Medication such as antidepressants, sleep aids, antacids, and antianxiety medications can all be used to deal with the symptoms of stress.

Help to manage stress

If you can relate to any of these stress symptoms and would like help, please reach out to us today. We can connect you to a trained counselor in our directory, who can walk the journey through stress management together with you.

“Stressed”, Courtesy of Elisa Ventur, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Stress”, Courtesy of Tima Miroschnichenko, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Remote Work”, Courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash.com, CC0 License
By Published On: March 25th, 20244.5 min read


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