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What is Stress Anyways?: How to recognize it and what to do about it.

Today we know that stress exists, and we know the consequences that could result from not managing it in time in the best possible way, but do we all know what stress is in a few words?

Stress is a normal response to the changes, pressures, and challenges that life throws at us. It is a mind-and-body signal that helps us prepare you for what is coming.

How does the stress act?

The most common way to recognize stress is through the body’s reaction. If your brain detects a threat to your safety, your body reacts with an instant burst of stress hormones, putting you on alert.

Your eyes widen. Your breathing and heart speed up. The heart pumps more oxygen to the muscles so that the muscles have more strength and move faster.

Your body’s stress response is there to protect you. It helps you react quickly, fight hard, or run fast if you need it. That’s why stress is also called the fight-or-flight response.

Types of stress

According to the American Psychology Association, there is a consensus on 3 different types of stress:

  • Acute stress: This is what can be felt in moments such as slamming on the brakes, being late for a meeting, or dealing with an electronic device that doesn’t work. It also happens when you do something new or exciting and usually goes away quickly.
  • Signs:

    • Emotional agony
    • Muscle problems
    • Stomach and intestinal problems
    • Temporary overexcitation leading to elevated blood pressure
    • Fast heart rate
    • Perspiration of the palms of the hands
    • Palpitations
    • Dizziness
    • Migraines
  • Episodic acute stress: Refers to episodes of acute stress most frequently. It is common for people with acute stress reactions to be overly agitated, short-tempered, irritable, anxious, and tense.
  • Signs:

    • Tense and persistent headaches
    • Migraines
    • Hypertension
    • Chest pain
    • (In some cases) Heart disease
  • Chronic stress: Any type of stress that continues for weeks or months is chronic stress. This is the exhausting stress that wears people down day after day, year after year. Some types of chronic stress come from traumatic childhood experiences that were internalized and remain painful and present constantly.
  • Signs:

    • Constant feeling of lack of time
    • Restlessness and irritability
    • Headaches
    • Get sick often
    • Sleeping problems
    • Eating disorders
    • Depression

When to contact a medical professional?

You can generally live peacefully managing stress on your own, but it is recommended to contact a mental health professional if you:

  • You have feelings of panic, such as dizziness, rapid breathing, or fast heartbeat.
  • You are unable to work or function at home or work.
  • You have fears that you can’t control.
  • You are having flashbacks of a traumatic event.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org. You can also call 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK). The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline provides free, confidential support 24/7, any time of the day or night.

You can also call 911 or the local emergency number or go to the hospital emergency room. DO NOT delay.

Conclusion

Ultimately, recognizing that stress is an inherent part of modern life allows us to learn how to manage it effectively. Through education, practicing stress management techniques, and support from support networks, we can minimize its harmful effects and work toward a more balanced and healthy life.

Resources:

  1. APA.org: The American Psychological Association (APA) provides its website visitors with a wide range of information and resources related to psychology, including research, publications, educational materials, and information about the organization itself.
  2. NIMH: On the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) website, you can find a wealth of information related to mental health, research findings, treatment options, and resources for individuals, families, and healthcare professionals.

Helpful Links

Insight Therapy Solutions: At Insight Therapy Solutions, a mental health service company to provide compassionate and effective mental health care to individuals and communities in need. We believe that everyone deserves access to quality mental health care, regardless of their background or circumstances. If you want to learn more, visit our Website.

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