Learning the symptoms, triggers and coping skills could add years to your life. 

Newly Revised Stressed Management Guide

Physiological Changes and Symptoms:

When you’re stressed, you feel changes in your body and your mind. Your heart beats faster, your blood pressure may go up, and your face may get flushed. Your muscles may tighten up, you feel anxious, and in most cases your nervous system causes poor cognition. You may feel rushed and confused or forget things and you may feel sick to your stomach. You might also be irritable and get into arguments with your family and friends. Chronic stress is known to accelerate premature aging, increase your anxiety level and change your behavior by affecting your overall mood. Premature aging occurs when the stress levels affect the DNA telomeres. Aging prematurely can increase an individual’s stress level of anxiety, making a person withdrawal and display dissociative and isolating behavior. 

Stress is the cause of poor life management skill:

Homelessness, in turn, amplifies poor mental health. The stress of experiencing homelessness may exacerbate previous mental illness and encourage anxiety, fear, depression, sleeplessness and substance use. 

Studies have shown that stressed caused by untreated depression, can lead to social isolation, long term unemployment, and domestic abuse, can increase a person’s anxiety level and decrease the length of each DNA strand. 

Men seek escape when confronted by stress:

Being that men are problem solvers, they like to know what they are doing, and why they do it. When men feel unable to problem solve, they compartmentalize and repress their emotions to either fight or run away their fight, flight or freeze response becomes automatically activated. This is in part because males are invested in performance and competition.

This often causes withdrawal and more conflicts within the self. Males under stress don’t do well with social cues and eye contact, when a man that under stress is asked to make eye contact, he can perceive this request as an immediate attack to his ego. 

Males under stress are more prone to engage in dangerous activities than females, cause pain and hurt others (even if unintentionally). A man that cares too much can also end up withdrawing from the situation at the onset of stress if unable to resolve the issues at hand. Some of the dangerous and risky behaviors include, isolation, tobacco use, drug and alcohol engagement, infidelity, domestic abuse, and in extreme cases depression and suicide. 

Get your hand out of my face: there is a correlation of PTSD and domestic violence. I don’t need any more trauma. “There are words and behaviors that are imprinted in our soul like the hand of an abuser in a victims face. 

Although domestic violence is not limited to the physical action of battering someone and include any form of control, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and intimidation, gaslighting (a form of psychological manipulation), isolation or withdrawal, verbal abuse: Coercion, Threats, & Blame Using Male or Female Privileges. Individuals who are under economic abuse in certain populations are at a higher risk of developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Demographics vary due to the individual’s perception of the situation. If you believe your stress is caused by a root of domestic abuse or that you are being a victim of domestic abuse, please call the National Domestic Abuse Hot Line 800.799.SAFE (7233). Or contact me. To understand more about the cause of your stress, assessment is needed by professionals working with women experiencing domestic violence. 

When things seem out of control: when the situation turns into more than you can handle, that’s when you start to feel the effects of stress. It’s as if your body is shouting “Do something!”, and your brain is shouting back “I don’t know what to do!” 

This happens because when a person is undergoing stress their left hemisphere cannot communicate with the right hemisphere. 

Long term stress can put you at risk for health problems such as: 

  • Substance abuse 
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Insomnia 
  • Self-Injury 
  • Obesity and other eating problems 
  • Digestive problems 
  • Lower immunity to colds and other illnesses 

We live in an interesting, but also fast-paced world. There are lots of sources of stress even for the younger population. 

Stress triggers in younger population: 

  • Homework and projects at school 
  • Family tension as you try to be more independent from your parents 
  • Pressure from friends to do risky things or simply feel like we are accepted 
  • Tension with your boyfriend or girlfriend 
  • Difficult people in your life (including peer, co-workers-classmates, parents, and stepparents) 
  • Upsetting news about disasters, war, or personal tragedy (the current COVID-19 pandemic) 
  • Media messages that lower your self-esteem 
  • Feeling like you can’t trust the government 
  • Not getting enough sleep 
  • Chronic illness 

Stress itself can’t kill you, every negative reaction to stress can, however. 

Stress symptoms may be affecting your health even though you might not realize it. You may think an illness is to blame for your persistent headaches and ongoing migraines, your increase insomnia or low productivity at work. But stress may actually be the cause. “Over time, [it] can cause damage that leads to premature death,” Celan says. This damage can be anything from cardiovascular issues to encouraging unhealthy habits, like smoking and alcohol misuse, among the least risky. “You could live longer if you had less stress in your life.” What you do to avoid, and handle stress could add years to your life. Being that indeed stress can affect our bodies, spirits, thoughts and feelings it is important to understand the symptoms and learn how to manage it. Untreated chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease (even in younger population), obesity and diabetes. 

Managing and Healing 

A certain amount of stress is okay if it helps in motivating you to deal with a short-term problem. We all need a level of anxiety to keep us from going to jail and crossing the street when a 18wheeler is coming. For example, if you’re stressed about writing a paper, or meeting a book deadline, and your stress causes you to ask your professor or someone else for advice, and you finish on time, then your stress has done its job. 

On the other hand, if you’re experiencing a lot of stress day after day, your body may start sending you warning signs that something’s really wrong. This kind of chronic stress can take a physical and mental toll on your body and mind as mentioned before. 

How to manage it to survive: Living and being alive is not the same. 

Here are some ideas for different activities you can do to lower your stress. Pick a couple that look interesting to you and try them out. If these ideas help de-stress, you can include them in your daily or weekly routine. If not, you can try others on the list, or come up with a list of your own. Talk to a coach, therapist, counselor or other health professional if you feel like you can’t manage stress on your own. 

Exercise is a great way to lower your stress 

While exercising, you can focus on what you’re doing with your body, which helps free your mind from other worries. Vigorous exercise also triggers the release of chemicals in your body called endorphins, which make you feel happier and more relaxed. You don’t have to be a super-athlete to exercise. Even something as basic as walking for half an hour can help you relax and improve your mood. Or you can sign up for a class at your local YWCA, such as dancing, volleyball, or swimming. 

Yoga, Tai Chi, & Qigong : use these for stretching, strength and agility purposes only 

These types of movement require stretches flexibility and poses that aid concentration, and relaxation. When a person stretches, they enable better blood flow (oxygen) to the brain. Yoga emphasizes flexibility and strength, while Tai Chi and Qigong help with concentration, balance, strength, and patience. You can do any of these exercises in a GYM class at your local YWCA, dance center, or at home on a towel or mat. If you’re shy about taking a class, you can borrow a DVD out of the library, or find one on YouTube and try the movements at home. 

Take a Break 

Sometimes your tired brain is just craving a little time off from your busy day. Stop what you’re doing and find a quiet spot where you can put your feet up. Drink some tea (without caffeine), enjoy your favorite late, or take a bath. Read a book or magazine, or even watch TV. These things sound so basic, you might think, “why bother?”, but when your body is relaxed, your stress level drops. 

Meditation in the Word and Prayer 

Focus your thoughts and feel more positive. Practice sitting quiet and still, in a place you feel secured in your thoughts, focus on your breathing and how your body feels, meditate on the word of God, on the good things that you’ve obtained this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, protesting chaos and political scandals. Instead of stressing about the past or freaking out about the future. With prayer you focus on feeling connected to a higher spiritual power (God), and on wishes and hopes you may have for yourself or people you care about. You might like to contact your local church, or temple, about a prayer or meditation group. (Contact me if you need more information). If you’re shy about attending a group, you can borrow DVDs or a list of suggestions and guidance from the library or find instructions on YouTube about different meditation and prayer techniques. 

A massage can work wonders in a stressed-out body & your life treat yourself right 

A gentle massage can untie knotted muscles, and make you feel relaxed all over. A professional massage can be expensive, but even a simple foot-rub or shoulder-rub from a good friend can take the edge off your stress – you can check out local massage schools to see if they offer discounted services. 

Focus on the future, journal away and make new goal 

Journal. Even for those who have never practice journaling it has been proven to lower their stress level as you enjoy writing, this can be a good way to de-stress. Write down what’s been happening with you on a daily basis and how you feel. Make small achievable goals that you know you will enjoy and are cost effective. By writing your thoughts and feelings down on paper, you’ll be de-cluttering and by making small goals and writing them down you’ll remain optimistic despite the current situations. This is a great and positive way to see the daily life for what is and the the tomorrow with new hope.

Have a good cry 

You may know that little kids get upset easily, cry and make a fuss, and then get over it quickly. This approach can work for you as well. Don’t hold back when the time calls for it look at yourself in the mirror and let it out. At the end of a stressful day, if you find yourself crying to a supportive friend, family member, or to your pillow, this can help de-stress. In our culture we often try to convince people not to cry, as if it were a sign of weakness, but that’s really not true. If crying helps you communicate your frustration, vent your stress, and get some support, then there’s nothing wrong with a good cry every now and then. Cry if you have to and ask for help when needed! 

Sleep. Take it to the pillow. Take a mental health day and rest it up to God. 

Living in a culture where many are sleep-deprived on a daily basis and understanding that even just a few nights in a row of not-enough-sleep can make you feel irritable and nervous, obtaining proper sleep to manage stress is HIGHLY recommended. When under chronic stress, you actually need more sleep at this time in your life. Although your work, school, schedule and social life make it difficult, try to put sleep at the top of your priority list, right up there with eating healthy foods. 

Thanks for reading ! 

Enjoy life, be blessed, be well, and live long.

Stay connected for more! 

©️Copyright 2021 Denise Kilby New Hope MHCLC Association. All rights reserved.

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