Handling Stress

Hello to all of you. These past few weeks have been very difficult for some of the people whom I love - including myself. I woke up this morning and decided that today will be a new day. My fiirst step was to dive into what stress is and how to cope with it. I found this information and although it will take you a bit of time to read, I think that it's well worth it. Take care of yourself today, please. Read on and figure out a few coping mechanisms that will help you live a more successful life.

Side note, I love you all, I am here for you, and I wish you a long life of peace and happiness.

XO

helpguide.org:

Stress isn’t always bad. In small doses, it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best. But when you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price. If you frequently find yourself feeling frazzled and overwhelmed, it’s time to take action to bring your nervous system back into balance. You can protect yourself — and improve how you think and feel — by learning how to recognize the signs and symptoms of chronic stress and taking steps to reduce its harmful effects.

What is stress? Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you sense danger—whether it’s real or imagined—the body's defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction or the "stress response."

The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you 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. It’s what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration when you’re attempting the game-winning free throw, or drives you to study for an exam when you'd rather be watching TV. But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life.

The effects of chronic stress - Your nervous system isn’t very good at distinguishing between emotional and physical threats. If you’re super stressed over an argument with a friend, a work deadline, or a mountain of bills, your body can react just as strongly as if you’re facing a true life-or-death situation. And the more your emergency stress system is activated, the easier it becomes to trigger and the harder it becomes to shut off.

If you tend to get stressed out frequently—as many of us do in today’s demanding world—your body may be in a heightened state of stress most of the time. And that can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can suppress your immune system, upset your digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process. It can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.

Health problems caused or exacerbated by stress include:

Depression and anxiety

Pain of any kind

Sleep problems

Autoimmune diseases

Digestive problems

Skin conditions, such as eczema

Heart disease

Weight problems

Reproductive issues

Thinking and memory problems

Signs and symptoms of stress overload - The most dangerous thing about stress is how easily it can creep up on you. You get used to it. It starts to feel familiar — even normal. You don’t notice how much it’s affecting you, even as it takes a heavy toll. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the common warning signs and symptoms of stress overload.

Cognitive symptoms - memory problems, inability to concentrate, poor judgement, seeing only the negative, anxious or racing thoughts, constant worry.

Physical symptoms - aches and pains, diarrhea or constipation, nausea, dizziness, chest pain, rapid heart rate, loss of sex drive, frequent colds or flu.

Emotional symptoms - depression or general unhappiness, anxiety and agitation, moodiness, irritability, anger, reeling overwhelmed, loneliness and isolation, other mental or emotional health problems.

Behavioral symptoms - eating more or less, sleeping too much or too little, withdrawing from others, procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities, using alcohol, tobacco, or drugs to relax, nervous habits (nail biting, pacing, etc).

Causes of stress - 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.

Finally, what causes stress depends, at least in part, on your perception of it. Something that's stressful to you may not faze someone else; they may even enjoy it. While some of us are terrified of getting up in front of people to perform or speak, for example, others live for the spotlight. Where one person thrives under pressure and performs best in the face of a tight deadline, another will shut down when work demands escalate. And while you may enjoy helping care for your elderly parents, your siblings may find the demands of caretaking overwhelming stressful.

Common external causes of stress include:

Major life changes

Work or school

Relationship difficulties

Financial problems

Being too busy

Children and family

Common internal causes of stress include:

Pessimism

Inability to accept uncertainty

Rigid thinking, lack of flexibility

Negative self-talk

Unrealistic expectations / perfectionism

All-or-nothing attitude

Top 10 stressful life events:

Death of a spouse

Divorce

Marriage separation

Imprisonment

Death of a close family member or friend

Injury or illness

Marriage

Job loss

Marriage reconciliation

Retirement

What's stressful for you?

Whatever event or situation is stressing you out, there are ways of coping with the problem and regaining your balance. Some of life's most common sources of stress include:

Stress at work

While some workplace stress is normal, excessive stress can interfere with your productivity and performance, impact your physical and emotional health, and affect your relationships and home life. It can even mean the difference between success and failure on the job. Whatever your ambitions or work demands, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from the damaging effects of stress, improve your job satisfaction, and bolster your well-being in and out of the workplace.

Job loss and unemployment stress

Losing a job is one of life's most stressful experiences. It's normal to feel angry, hurt, or depressed, grieve at all that you've lost, or feel anxious about what the future holds. Job loss and unemployment involves a lot of change all at once, which can rock your sense of purpose and self-esteem. While the stress can seem overwhelming, there are many things you can do to come out of this difficult period stronger, more resilient, and with a renewed sense of purpose.

Caregiver stress

The demands of caregiving can be overwhelming, especially if you feel you're in over your head or have little control over the situation. If the stress of caregiving is left unchecked, it can take a toll on your health, relationships, and state of mind — eventually leading to burnout. However, there are plenty of things you can do to rein in the stress of caregiving and regain a sense of balance, joy, and hope in your life.

Grief and loss