What is stress?
Stress can be described as our body’s natural response to situations that demand change. As children and adults, we deal with varying degrees of stress on a daily basis. It can be caused by anything, including the environment, our bodies, or even our own thoughts and mental state. Healthy levels of stress can help keep us alert, motivated, and ready to avoid danger, but it can also become harmful if you experience consistently high levels of stress without relief or relaxation between stress factors and stressful experiences.
Symptoms of Stress
Everyone experiences stress differently and at different levels. With the usual daily demands of work, school, and personal lives, it’s easy to accept stress as a normal part of our experience. To some degree that’s true, but it’s important to realize if that stress level is getting too high and causing other issues in your life.
Constant high levels of stress can wear down our body’s natural defenses, leading to a variety of symptoms. In order to manage stress, it helps to identify and categorize the symptoms.
Physical symptoms of stress can include:
- Stomach aches
- Acne or breakouts
- Digestive issues
Mental symptoms of stress include:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Unhealthy eating habits
- Substance abuse
Emotional symptoms of stress include:
Chronic stress, or regular high intensity stress, can lead to people developing conditions such as hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and heart attacks. Of course, there are a number of other factors that may influence these symptoms, but stress can play a major role in undermining your overall health if left unchecked.
Severe stress has become something many Americans take in stride as a typical part of life. Unfortunately, that also leads to a lack of treatment which may translate into more serious health risks. Many people suffering from intense stress are also prone to unhealthy coping mechanisms, which can either be a direct negative impact on their life, or induce more stress. While such habits may bring people temporary relief from stress, the long term negatives of some coping mechanisms may further compound a person’s mental health risks.
If you’ve been experiencing elevated levels of stress, talking to a mental health professional about stress therapy can help. A trained therapist can help you recognize stressors, identify unhealthy coping mechanisms, and come up with a healthy behavior system to manage and relieve the stress you’ve been facing. Therapists at the ADHD Wellness Center in Houston use a number of treatment options to help people deal with their stress in more productive ways.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a popular method of managing stress that has proven effective in treating a number of other mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and ADHD. CBT rests on the premise that in addition to the stressful situation itself, it’s the way we think of it that causes us added stress. Mental health professionals use CBT techniques to help us recognize negative thinking patterns and develop healthier behaviors when dealing with stressful events.
Many therapists swear by regular exercise as a way of relieving stress. In addition to increasing your overall health, physical activity pumps up your endorphins—the feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain—which leaves you feeling energized and optimistic. Taking part in an intense, fast-paced workout or sport also helps you temporarily forget about the situations causing you stress in the first place. Your brain is preoccupied with your body’s movements, giving you time to unintentionally meditate. This routine of tricking your mind into relieving stress can help you stay calm through your day.
When stress comes as a symptom of an underlying condition such as depression or an anxiety disorder, doctors might also prescribe medication along with other treatment options. As with all mental health management, stress therapy is not a one-size-fits all treatment. Professional therapists at the ADHD Wellness Center in Houston make sure to assess each patient’s stress levels and symptoms before creating a treatment plan to tackle the issue. If you have been experiencing severe stress, schedule an appointment today.