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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.