Stress and anxiety can pop up in people’s lives from time to time. Both stress and anxiety can affect you physically and mentally. Since the world can be a busy place, people can often feel easily overwhelmed. This feeling can be even more intense if they have multiple demands that they need to achieve. The feeling of being overwhelmed can oftentimes turn into stress. On the other hand, anxiety is more persistent and excessive worry that doesn’t go away even in the absence of a stressor or a feeling of worry, fear, or unease about certain situations. Mental Health Counselor, Carmen Morrow talks about anxiety, stress, triggers, and how to overcome the obstacles that come along with them.
Dealing with Anxiety & Stress
Morrow says that the first thing to talk about how their anxiety is affecting them and to what severity. There are four categories of anxiety that are listed by severity. These four categories are; mild, moderate, severe and panic. When anxiety levels move to a more critical later stage, it can interfere with an individual’s daily routine, motivation, and their relationships. It also affects your personal mental and physical well-being. The easiest way to seek support and guidance for anxiety is to make an appointment with your doctor/primary care provider. Your primary care provider will check to see if anxiety could be linked to your physical health. From there, they will evaluate, treat, and if the anxiety is at a level where a mental health professional would be beneficial; a referral may be made. It is very important to sit down with a trusted adult, medical professional, or counselor to talk about your anxiety.
- Lifestyle change
Our body’s stress reaction has its place in our society since it has many protective factors associated with it. Stress is a warning system to help the human body respond to physical or emotional situations that they need to be more alert and prepared for. There are many different things that can spark stress in your life. Some people may perceive and react to stress very differently. How we react can be biological or from environmental influences in our lives. If you’ve been raised in a family where there’s been a lot of dysfunction, you may perceive something as a threat or something that causes stress more than an individual that was raised in a healthier environment. When you feel stressed, it is beneficial to break down what is the cause and how it’s affecting you. Incorporating healthy coping skills in your daily routine and not just when stress arises is extremely important. Make sure that you are incorporating healthy coping skills that you enjoy and that distract you from focusing on the stressors. Especially those stressors that you have no control over. By identifying the stressors, you then have the ability to make behavioral changes that will reduce stress, and if also defined as stress management. Learning and practicing breathing exercises are beneficial and allow the body to calm the mind and the physical responses to stress. If you’re looking for another option, The “5 senses” is another great distraction exercise.
- Sight: Change your scenery
- Sound: Listen to music
- Touch: Pet a furry friend
- Smell: Bake something/put on essential oils
- Taste: Eat or drink something you enjoy
If one distraction isn’t working, go onto the next.
“Multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts”. – The Help Guide Experts
There has been a stigma that you shouldn’t talk openly about mental health, which has now started to shift and people have been disclosing how they feel more openly. There are many people in your life that care about you and your wellbeing. Please reach out to others, they are here to support and help you.
The Healthline describes stress/anxiety as…
- Stomach aches
- Muscle tension
- Rapid breathing
- Irregular heart beat
- Frequent urination
- Change in appetite
- Sleeping problems
Everyone experiences stress and anxiety in their lives and in the short term, it’s not always a bad experience. If you know how to effectively communicate with your mind and body, you can monitor how it affects you. If we didn’t experience stress or anxiety, we may not be motivated to get things accomplished and to step out of our comfort zone. But on the other hand, if stress and anxiety begin to interfere with your daily life, this could be a more serious issue. Seeking help is such a great resource. Many ways to help manage stress and anxiety are…
- Limiting your alcohol/ caffeine intake
- Getting fresh air
- Eating a balanced meal
- Deep breathing
- Allowing yourself to feel those emotions but knowing how to regulate them
- Surrounding yourself with positive influences
- Have a time schedule