Ongoing or Unresolved Stress Should Be Taken Seriously
“Snap out of it!” The image of some character in a movie or TV show, calming down a panic-stricken co-star with a shake, a slap, or a glass of water in the face, is a common cliché that most people, thankfully, know only as the stuff of pure fantasy.
Just as common, however, is the idea that stress…the kind that arises from real-life issues with relationships, work (or lack of work), illness, money matters and the often overwhelming pace of our lives…is NOT the sort of major problem that merits seeking professional help. After all, it happens to each and every one of us, the thinking goes — and at some point we expect ourselves to suck it up, get over it…snap out of it.
Real life also tells us that the “everyday” problem of stress can exact a mental and physical toll that may range from anxiety, depression and insomnia to headaches, high blood pressure, and even heart disease. Stress tears apart families, ruins careers, keeps people from achieving their goals no matter how hard they strive. Stress kills.
At Carrier Clinic®, we take the effects of stress very seriously — and we know that when left unaddressed, the emotional ravages of continuous, uncontrolled stress can result in the sort of behavioral issues that bring people to the doorstep of our Belle Mead, NJ campus. While our medical professionals, therapists, and counselors are available to help at all times, Carrier Clinic® also recommends that everyone should try these simple steps for relieving some of the burdens of a stressful lifestyle.
Tips to Cope With Stress
- Identify the source: When you are feeling stressed it may be helpful to stop and take a moment to breathe and ask yourself why you are feeling the way you are, what triggered the stress reaction, and what the thoughts are that are going through your mind. When possible, set aside some quiet time for self-reflection to learn source/s of your stress and then work to address solutions.
- Write it Down! Make a list of your most important priorities, and focus your time and energies there first. A simple breakdown of “Things To Do” can be an enormous help in organizing your thoughts, consolidating tasks, and seeing solutions that were “right under your nose” all along.
- Get Real! Don’t set expectations for yourself (or for your family or co-workers) that you can’t be reasonably be sure can be meet…and learn not to say YES to everything that’s asked of you. If you don’t want to do it or don’t have time for it, it’s okay to say no. Be yourself, and don’t let others pressure you into taking on things that are far outside your experience, or that fall outside your moral standards, and sense of right and wrong. Our own conscience can be an unforgiving source of stress…and a “little white lie” can quickly become a complex problem.
- Take a Breather! It’s not being selfish and irresponsible to set aside some minutes for yourself. Even if it seems like you “don’t have a moment to catch your breath,” make time for some relaxation, recreation, exercise…including a few minutes of deep breathing exercises…or whatever activity puts you in a better frame of mind. It can help you do a better job of things, stay focused and more engaged.
- Exercise: Working out releases endorphins, which makes you feel happier all around. With enough time at the gym, you’ll not only feel great, but you’ll look great too.
- Make healthier choices: Start by drinking more water—it hydrates the body, and it has proven to help relieve stress. Have a balanced diet every day, and get enough sleep every night. Don’t smoke or drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages. These substances will only increase stress levels.
- Think Positive! Don’t waste time obsessing over things that are out of your hands. Focus on the things that you know you do well…apply your skills and your interests to taking on the things that life throws at you, and brainstorm ways in which your talents can be of help to someone who can help you in turn.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask! The people in our lives are often more willing to offer advice and lend a hand than we may realize…and the problem often lies in our own pride, shyness, or potential embarrassment. Know that you’re not alone…whatever the problem, somebody somewhere has gone through the same thing, and talking to someone can help you to cope, or connect you to those with a shared experience and expertise.
A Low-Stress Zone
While it’s not possible to completely eliminate every single source of stress from our everyday lives, professional help is always close at hand whenever stress factors become too much for one individual to handle. A Stress Management program of intensive counseling and outpatient treatment can contain and control the factors that impact your emotional and physical health in a negative way.
Whether at home, at work, or in school — where exposure to bullying, peer pressure, and competitiveness can often bring about mood swings, social withdrawal, and behavioral changes in a young person — the Stress Monster is always waiting to get the best of you. Having a support system is extremely important and will aid in getting through tough times. Remember that these feelings will not go on forever, and they are manageable. With the help of caring people and some simple first steps, you’ve got the power to tame the stress beast.
Read our newsletter about parental stress and ways to alleviate it.