Stress

Author: GOeBlogger

March 17, 2021

All of us have felt stressed at some point in our lives, but we’re not always clear about what the stress is. Mental health defines stress as, "the degree to which you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope as a result of pressures that are unmanageable." Stress can feel overwhelming at times, but there are many different strategies to help you take control.

Stress is not a psychiatric diagnosis, but it is closely linked to mental health. It can be the cause of mental health problems and exacerbate existing ones. For instance, if you struggle with managing stress you might be more prone to developing anxiety, depression, or having panic attacks. Mental health problems can also cause stress. Coping with day-to-day symptoms and managing treatment can become an extra source of worry for some people.

Some stress can be a good thing; it can motivate us to focus on a task, or take action and solve a problem. In these situations, stress is manageable and can even be helpful. It’s when you feel overwhelmed or feel like you can’t fix the problem that stress becomes unhelpful. When stress is ignored and left unchecked, it can manifest and impact physical health. Some may experience headaches, difficulty sleeping, find it hard to concentrate, or experience muscle tension in the body. When we don’t take care of our mental health, it impacts our physical wellbeing, and in turn makes us more prone to getting sick.

Stress often comes from our reaction to a situation, and not the actual situation itself. A common experience where stress arises from, is when the expectations of a situation are greater than our resources to deal with that situation. For example, some people find interviews to be very difficult, when asked to speak about themselves and answer questions on the spot, while others love to share their accomplishments.

There is no right way to deal with stress, everyone is different and what works for you may not work for someone else. Here are some strategies to help with stress:

  • Identify the problem: Understand whether it’s work, school, relationship, or money that’s causing your stress. Identifying the problem will help you find a solution to do something about it. Take control by taking small steps towards the things you can improve. Think about a plan to address the things that you can. This might involve setting yourself realistic expectations and prioritising essential commitments.
  • Find Support: Talk about your problems with someone you trust. Friends and family may not realize you are having a difficult time. They can provide a safe space for you to unload your thoughts, and might even be able to help you come up with a solution.
  • Center Yourself: Practices like yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises help center yourself and quiet the mind. It can help you take a step back and look at the situation in a calmer, balanced perspective. Over time, these practices help manage your response to stress.
  • Make Time for the Things You Like: Do something you enjoy, such as your favourite hobby, sport, or craft. Doing the things you enjoy help you to relax and create mental space from stressful situations. Take time for self care, and do positive things for yourself. Do whatever makes you feel good, watch a movie, read a book, or go for a walk! Striking a balance between responsibility to others and responsibility to yourself is vital in reducing stress levels.
  • Learn to Say No: Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew, and we find ourselves in stressful situations when we’ve taken on more than we can handle. Learning to say no is a true skill that not many of us practice often. It’s okay to say no when you do not have the capacity to help others.
  • Exercise: Physical exercise is a great way to manage the effects of stress. Walking, hiking, or trying a new sport - the most important thing is that it gets you moving and that you enjoy it.

If you are struggling to manage stress, consider booking an appointment with one of our GOeVisit practitioners!

 

 

GOeBlogger

GOeBlogger is a health enthusiast and avid reader living and thriving in vibrant Vancouver. When she's not nerding out at her laptop, you can find her exploring the beautiful BC coastline with her dog.

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