Unrelieved stress can pose a serious threat to physical and emotional health. The good news is that while all stress can't be eliminated (nor should it be), it can be effectively managed.
The following stress articles explain in detail how stress can affect you; where stress lies and how you can effectively manage the stress in your life and create a more fulfilling, more peaceful life. There's a wealth of information here, and I've highlighted the basics, so you can gain a clear understanding of stress right away and refer back to other stress articles as you have time. Learning about stress is the first step in effectively managing it and improving your life in the process!
Causes of StressStress can come from many sources, which are known as "stressors." Because our experience of what is considered "stressful" is created by our unique perceptions of what we encounter in life (based on our own mix of personality traits, available resources, habitual thought patterns and more), a situation may be perceived as "stressful" by one person and merely "challenging" by someone else.
Simply put, one person's stress trigger may not register as stressful to someone else. That said, certain situations tend to cause more stress in people than others. For example, when we find ourselves in situations where there are high demands on us, where we have little control, where we don't feel equipped, where we may be harshly judged by others and where consequences for failure are steep or unpredictable, we tend to get stressed.
Because of this, many people are stressed by their jobs, their relationships, their financial issues, health problems and more mundane things like clutter or busy schedules. Learning skills to cope with these stressors can help reduce your experience of stress.
Effects of StressJust as stress is perceived differently by each of us, stress affects us all in ways that are unique to us. One person may experience headaches while another may find stomach upset is a common reaction, while a third may experience any of a number of other symptoms. While we all react to stress in our own ways, there is a long list of commonly-experienced effects of stress that range from mild to life-threatening. Stress can affect immunity, which can impact virtually all areas of health. Stress can affect mood in many ways as well.
If you find yourself experiencing physical symptoms you think may be related to stress, it is important to work on managing that stress as well as talking to your doctor to be sure you are doing what you can to safeguard your health. Symptoms that may be exacerbated by stress are not "all in your head," and need to be taken seriously. Creating a stress management plan is often one part of a plan for overall wellness.
Effective Stress ManagementStress can be effectively managed in many different ways. The best stress management plans usually include a mix of stress relievers that address stress physically and psychologically, and help to develop resilience and coping skills. Quick stress relievers like breathing exercises, for example, can help calm the body's physiology once the stress response is triggered.
Long-term healthy habits like exercise or meditation can help to promote resilience toward stressors. Communication skills and other lifestyle skills can be helpful in managing stressors and changing how we feel from "overwhelmed" to "challenged" or even "stimulated."
Discovering a wide variety of stress management techniques, and then choosing a mix that fits your needs, can be a key strategy for effective stress relief.
By CategoryThis site has a wealth of stress articles that cover a wide variety of topics. These articles are grouped in different ways to make navigation simpler. The following pages provide information that can inform and inspire you, enabling you to make healthy changes to effectively manage your stress.
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Lehrer, Paul; Woolfolk, Robert; Sime, Wesley. Principles and Practice of Stress Management, Third Edition.New York, New York: The Guilford Press.