Managing Stress in Healthy Ways (Part I)

Written By: Stephanie Reck, LCSW

Between 75-90% of all doctor’s visits are stress-related. Stress comes in a variety of symptoms, ailments, and conditions. Stress can affect you spiritually, physically, and emotionally. There are many things in life to cause us to feel stress and anxious. Chronic stress can complicate matters and can lead to burn-out and Adrenal Fatigue. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines stress as a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.; something that causes strong feelings of worry and anxiety; a physical, chemical factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.

What happens to our bodies under stress:

1. Cortisol mediates various metabolic processes. Cortisol levels can be elevated if we are under physical or psychological stress.

2. Immune system can weaken and you can become more susceptible to colds and flus.

3. Have difficulty falling or staying asleep.

4. Bouts of irritability, anger, and easily frustrated/annoyed.

5. Fatigue and don’t feel like you got a restful night’s sleep.

6. Anxiousness, fear, and low moods (mild depression).

7. Mood swings (hormones out of balance).

8. Feelings of being overwhelmed.

9. Eating too much or too little.

10. General sense of not feeling well (malaise).

Add up the above stresses for the past year and if you listed 5 or more that occurred this last year, you could have a high level of stress that needs to be dealt with.

This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author’s website for more articles and free email subscription.

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