Stress is an internal response triggered by external situations. Stress affects the physical, mental, and emotional body through tension and strain.
Chronic stress could be detrimental, and mental health professionals have often helped individuals decrease stress levels to help them live with greater well-being and improved quality of life.
What is Stress?
According to the American Institute of Stress, stress is “America’s most serious health problem.” In many cases, Americans feel stress as a result of psychological threats. These threats could include losing your job, searching for a new job, relationship problems, or loss and grief. These can all happen more than once in a lifetime.
Chronic stress may exacerbate existing medical conditions or contribute to medical conditions such as heart attack, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, and chronic pain.
Signs and Symptoms of Stress
Stress can cause physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms.
Physical signs and symptoms of stress may include:
- Sleep difficulties
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Acne and skin conditions
- Digestive issues
Mental signs and symptoms of stress may include:
- Death thoughts
- Food & eating issues
- Substance use or abuse
Emotional signs and symptoms of stress may include:
Reach out to a professional if you have concerns about any of these symptoms. Speaking to a trusted doctor or therapist about stress can help you learn ways to manage it.
What Are The Causes Of Stress?
Stress does not have to be caused by negative events. Positive experiences in life can cause stress just as much as negative ones.
Many common stressors are found in our lives, including:
- Losing your job or finding a new job
- Divorce or separation
- Planning a wedding or getting married
- Changes in your financial situation
- Watching the news or following politics
- Being a parent
- Moving residences
- Entering or graduating from college or university
- Experiencing the loss of a loved one
- Newly diagnosed medical conditions or injuries
Unhealthy Coping and Stress
There are ways people can cope with stress. However, not all coping strategies for stress are healthy or beneficial. Unhealthy coping strategies can be harmful and increase stress’s negative effects instead of decreasing them.
Here are some examples of potentially harmful and poor coping strategies for stress:
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Emotional overeating
- Illicit drug use
- Engaging in gambling
- Impulsive Shopping
Using poor coping strategies to deal with long-term stress can lead a person to develop secondary mental health issues. Therapy can help you identify flawed coping strategies and create healthier ones.
Some people may resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms like drugs or alcohol to reduce the stress-related physical, mental or emotional pain. However, Using these poor coping strategies may lead to addiction and additional stressful life events such as unemployment or physical illness. People may develop further problems from unhealthy coping strategies, such as feeling helpless, alone, or ashamed.
Ways Stress affects Mental & Physical Health
Most people can admit to having been stressed at some point in their lives. Stress can become chronic and unbearable for many. Chronic stress can lead to a variety of mental and physical health problems. High levels of stress have been linked to:
- Increased appetite
- Self-soothing using drugs or alcohol
- Changes in mood
- Changes in mental health
- Decrease in enjoyment and productivity at work
- Intimacy issues
- Chronic pain
- Irritability and anger
- Feelings of Anxiety
- Feelings of Depression
- Social activities are no longer enjoyable
- Stroke and heart attack
These complaints can be caused by stress. However, using the proper coping strategies can help reduce stress and alleviate symptoms.
There are several healthy ways that stress can be relieved. You can also combine multiple methods of stress reduction. Healthy coping strategies help people to relieve emotional and physical stress.
It is crucial to ensure that your stress management plan is sustainable and healthy. Comfort food, for example, may cause some instant gratification. However, if comfort food is used as a primary way to cope with stress, it can cause other problems, including problems for their health, which results in added stressors.
Talking with a therapist can help you to address and reduce stress while providing beneficial coping strategies. A therapist or counselor can help tailor stress reduction strategies to fit your specific needs.
According to a 2014 study, 75% of Americans report experiencing stress-related symptoms. Additionally, 43% of respondents said that they use poor coping strategies when stressed.
Counseling for Stress Management
Talking with a medical doctor or mental health professional can be helpful if stress is affecting your life. When we use poor coping strategies to deal with stress, it could lead to drug abuse, health conditions, chronic pain, loss of interest, reduced pleasure, increased tension, and problems in our relationships.
A licensed clinical psychologist can help individuals address their stress-related situations through therapy. Stressful situations such as work pressures, divorce, the loss of a loved one, or medical conditions can increase stress. In these types of cases, a licensed clinical psychologist may help a person by providing beneficial coping strategies and helping the person explore ways that they could deal with or resolve the issues.
Kinds Of Therapy Used To Relieve Stress
There are different treatments of therapists and counselors can use to help individuals deal with stress in healthy ways. Cognitive behavioral therapy CBT is an effective therapy modality that is often used for stress management and reduction. CBT is used to help people think differently about stressful events. It can change the negative thoughts that are triggered by stressful situations. The new thinking patterns brought on by CBT help individuals reduce stressors.
Mindfulness-based therapy is another type of therapy that reduces stress. Several types of therapy incorporate mindfulness to help reduce stress. Some of these therapies include mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and acceptance and commitment therapy.
Stress can also cause other mental health conditions such as addiction, anxiety, adjustment disorders, or PTSD, which can also be treated with therapy. A therapist helps you understand your symptoms and mental health. They can help you choose the right treatment plan based on your situation.
General Tips On Managing Stress
Therapists provide beneficial strategies to manage stress and relieve it. Stress can affect the mind, body, and emotions. Effective stress reduction targets stress in its entirety. Here are some general ways we can decrease stress in all three areas:
- Diaphragmatic breathing
- Exercising: dancing, running, swimming, yoga, etc.
- A nice hot bath
- Acupuncture or massage
- Spending time with your pet
- Spending time in nature
- Listening to relaxing music
- Enjoying pleasant smells with aromatherapy
- Planning and organizing
- Challenging Negative Thoughts
- Challenging Catastrophic Thinking
- Finding the silver lining
- Positive self-talk and affirmations
- Crying or laughing
- Using art and creativity to express stressful emotions
- Talking about stressful events with a trusted source
- Doing an enjoyable hobby, such as crafting, cooking, gardening, etc.
Some people may find self-help books or seminars that teach stress management and coping strategies helpful.
Management of Stress in Therapy, Miami Florida
If you’re experiencing stress in Florida245iop\rew, We’re here to help!
Hello, I’m Dr. Carolina Raeburn, a licensed Clinical Psychologist with a subspecialty in neuropsychology in Miami. I help people with emotional concerns and those adjusting to life changes. I offer coaching and bespoke psychotherapy for individuals and couples, providing cognitive behavioral therapy, depression treatment, anxiety treatment, panic attack treatment, stress management, as well as help those going through life changes, such as grief and loss, chronic and terminal illness, injuries, retirement, perfectionism, and much more.
If you have any questions about my services, please feel free to reach out through the contact form. Or if you’re ready to start your path to a better tomorrow, please make your appointment today.
*All the information published in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Any information provided here is offered in generic form. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.