Stress is a part of day to day living. It is the result of placing undue expectation or desire upon our self or others. Stress affects each of us in different ways, and it is important to be aware of your unique stress “signals. When you are under stress, you may experience any number of the following:
- Feelings: anxiety, irritability, fear, moodiness, embarrassment.
- Thoughts: self-criticism, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, forgetfulness, preoccupation with the future, repetitive thoughts, fear of failure.
- Behaviors: crying, increased or decreased appetite, “snapping” at friends, acting impulsively, alcohol or other drug use (including smoking), nervous laughter, teeth grinding or jaw clenching, stuttering or other speech difficulties, being more accident-prone.
- Physical: sleep disturbances, tight muscles, headaches, fatigue, cold or sweaty hands, back or neck problems, stomach distress, more colds and infections, rapid breathing, pounding heart, trembling, dry mouth.
There are many ways to manage unhealthy stress in your life. One of the important ways is through counseling. Talking through the issues you are facing with a counselor can help you to deal with any underlying issues that are affecting your stress levels such as low self-esteem. The counselor will ask you some questions that will also help you to realize and see the main root or the seed of your dilemma. Your counselor may also be able to identify your personal stress triggers and can talk you through ways of dealing with them.
Relaxation techniques are often encouraged and are a great way to alleviate tension in both your body and your mind. Mindfulness is another technique being used for stress and depression by many – the concept involves deep breathing exercises and focusing on the present. By eliminating thoughts about the past or future, mindfulness helps reduce unnecessary stress and focuses on the here and now.