We all get stressed out sometimes by things happening in our personal or professional lives. The problems start to occur when the stress makes coping difficult, impacting your ability to function. Millions of people worldwide face high-pressure situations regularly, and this pressure can change the way your brain and essential systems develop and perform.

The world is full of different stressors, from minor interpersonal confrontations to a worldwide pandemic. You may find the stress that you feel amplified or diminished based on your mental and physical state. An excellent way to manage stress is to reframe how you think about yourself and the world around you. By doing that, you remove any exaggerated effect from upsetting situations you encounter.

Stress Management

What is Stress Management

Your therapist can use many psychotherapy techniques and physical activities to teach you stress management. Those methods work by making it easier for you to identify and analyze various stressors in your life while providing a way for you to minimize any adverse effects. Stress management can take various forms, including exercise, yoga, meditation, talk therapy, breathing exercises, practicing mindfulness, and actively removing stressors by making lifestyle changes. Stress management requires you to make adjustments to your habits and frequently practice what you learn in sessions with your therapist. 

The Most Common Forms of Stress

Everyone encounters pressures of some kind throughout their lives. These pressures only become an issue when stress responses are long-lasting, impact your quality of life, or interfere with your ability to complete tasks. Below are everyday things that lead to chronic and acute stress: 

  • Major life changes
  • Financial strain
  • Interpersonal relationships issues
  • Chronic illness, injury, or disability 
  • Being the primary caregiver of someone with a chronic health condition
  • Mental health and emotional issues
  • War and other social unrest
  • Natural disasters
  • Trauma-related to physical or sexual abuse
  • Experiencing a disturbing or traumatic event

How Stress Affects the Mind and Body

When left untreated over time, stress often leads to physical manifestations and mental health disorders. Many people turn to self-medication or substance use to cope with how stress can make them feel or behave. 

A 2017 review of the research data revealed people “that work or live in stressful environments have a higher likelihood of many disorders,” including substance use disorder (SUD). The most well-known health side effects of acute or prolonged stress are listed below:

  • Cardiovascular issues and heart disease
  • Mental health disorders like anxiety and depression
  • Increased severity of symptoms related to psychological and physical conditions
  • Change in cognitive function including an inability to focus, confusion, and memory issues

What is Chronic Stress?

When you feel pressured or stressed over long periods, it is considered a chronic condition. Research has shown that chronic stress negatively affects almost every part of the body and your mental health. 

What is Acute Stress?

Acute stress is the result of going through a traumatic event. Often directly afterward, people will have extreme, dysfunctional reactions to what they just experienced, and you may find those reactions classified as symptoms of acute stress. You can be diagnosed with acute stress disorder (ASD) if the symptoms last at least a week. When they last longer than a month, ASD becomes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Stress management techniques can potentially stop the transition from ASD to PTSD in some individuals. The type and severity of the trauma will impact the success of stress management exercises.

Risk Factors Associated With Chronic Stress

Stress manifests in different ways for different people. There is a comprehensive and varied list of possible symptoms tied to acute and chronic stress. Below is a list of the most common signs of stress, but there are rare manifestations such as psychological or physical shock that you might encounter under the right circumstances. If you are worried that you may be experiencing symptoms of stress, talk to your doctor. 

  • Acute Stress Symptoms: extreme fear, increased heart rate, breathing difficulties, chest pain, headache or pain in the back of the neck, stomach upset or discomfort, sweating, and difficulty focusing. 
  • Symptoms of Chronic Stress: irritability, unusual mood swings, difficulty falling or staying asleep, anxiety, headaches, stomach upset or discomfort, fatigue and feelings of weakness, changes in appetite, confusion, dizziness, racing thoughts, and feelings of fear or dread. 

5 Tips For Overcoming Everyday Stress 

No one thing will remove all the harmful stress or pressures from your life, but there are a few quick and easy things you can do to decrease the impact and lower the risk of developing chronic stress. 

  • Stay Positive: Be careful to keep your thoughts positive and future-focused.
  • Practice Mindfulness: Spend a little time each day practicing mindfulness in whatever form feels most natural and comfortable to you.  
  • Meditate: Schedule a 10 to 20-minute meditation session a few times a week. 
  • Make Healthy Choices: Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and get quality rest.
  • Be Social: Socialize with peers, friends, and loved ones to reduce feelings of isolation.

We are here for you

Stress management can help significantly reduce the risk of relapse and make it easier to implement positive changes in your life. Stress and physical health are closely linked, and keeping yourself fit by exercising and eating nutritional meals can lessen the impact of stressful events. You can choose to combat stress by using a holistic approach that will enhance the steps you are already taking to move forward in your recovery. At White House Recovery and Detox, we can teach you how to manage your stress using therapeutic tools and physical wellness exercises.