How Stress Impacts Your Life
As the experts at the Mayo Clinic point out, stress symptoms may be affecting your health without you even realizing it. “You may think illness is to blame for that nagging headache, your frequent insomnia or your decreased productivity at work,” they report. “But stress may actually be the culprit.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, the stress you experience at work, at school or at home within your family dynamic can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. “Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can give you a jump on managing them. Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes,” they say.
The Mayo Clinic reports that the following physical symptoms can be caused by stress:
- Muscle tension or pain
- Chest pain
- Change in sex drive
- Stomach upset
- Sleep problems
These are the effects stress can have on your mood, according to their experts:
- Lack of motivation or focus
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Irritability or anger
- Sadness or depression
They also point out that stress can have an impact on your behavior, resulting in:
- Overeating or undereating
- Angry outbursts
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Tobacco use
- Social withdrawal
- Exercising less often
If you are exhibiting symptoms of stress, there are steps you can take to manage your stress and improve your health. Among the stress management strategies recommended by the Mayo Clinic are:
Regular physical activity
Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi or getting a massage
Keeping a sense of humor
Socializing with family and friends
Setting aside time for hobbies, such as reading a book or listening to music
The more active strategies you adopt, the better. “Inactive ways you may use to manage stress — such as watching television, surfing the Internet or playing video games — may seem relaxing, but they may increase your stress over the long term,” the experts at the Mayo Clinic say. They also recommend that you get plenty of sleep and eat a healthy, balanced diet. Avoid tobacco use, excess caffeine and alcohol intake, and the use of illicit substances.
When to seek help
If you’re not sure if stress is the cause or if you’ve made healthy changes to control your stress but your symptoms continue, see your doctor. “Your doctor may want to check for other potential causes,” the professionals at the Mayo Clinic professional point out. “Or,” they say, “consider seeing a professional counselor or therapist, who can help you identify sources of your stress and learn new coping tools.”
For more information on the negative impacts of stress or to make an appointment in New York City, please call 212-874-9402 or email: RichardSussmanTherapy@gmail.com.
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