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Managing Stress

Stress is generally a short-term experience compared to anxiety which tends to be a chronic problem. Stress is a response to a given threat in a specific situation.

Stress may be positive or negative. When stress helps you make a critical deadline it’s positive. When stress prevents you from doing the things you normally do, or need to do, it’s negative.

A number of emotional and physical disorders are linked to stress; including depression, anxiety, heart attacks, strokes, gastrointestinal distress, obesity, and hypertension.  While stress manifests itself in many ways a few more common symptoms are:

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Frequent headaches
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Back, shoulder or neck pain
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Feeling faint, or dizzy
  • Frequent illnesses
  • Irritability
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Excessive worry
  • Racing thoughts
  • Forgetfulness
  • Loss of sexual desire

Some recommended ways for managing stress include:

  • Reaching out for support. Talking to a friend, your partner or a counselor can help you reduce the pressure you are feeling.
  • Getting regular exercise and eating well. A sedentary life and excessive eating will sabotage efforts to reduce stress.
  • Meditation and relaxation exercises and deep breathing can help restore the energy being stolen by stress.
  • Evaluating your schedule and possibly eliminating tasks or assigning those tasks to others. 

Some people try to deal with stress in counterproductive and unhealthy ways. Some of these unhealthy coping strategies are:

  • Excessive caffeine consumption
  • Compulsive Spending
  • Excessive Drinking
  • Over-eating or not eating enough
  • Taking OTC drugs
  • Becoming a workaholic

Reality is the leading cause of stress for those in touch with it.

                                            - Jane Wagner

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