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Stress Management: How Stress Affects You and What You Can Do

Here's How To Understand and Effectively Manage Stress In Your Life


Updated May 11, 2014

Stress Management: How Stress Affects You and What You Can Do

We may not be able to stop all stress, but we can certainly reduce our risks as we learn to manage it!

Photo from iStockPhoto.com

We all experience stress in our lives. Because the vast majority of health problems are caused or influenced by stress, it's important to understand how stress affects your body, and to learn effective stress management techniques to make stress work for you rather than against you.

The following are some commonly asked questions about stress. Each has a brief answer, along with stress management resources and information to help you explore things further. I encourage you to read through all the questions and answers now, but bookmark the page and go through the additional resources more thoroughly as you have time in the coming days or weeks. In following months, you can use what you learn now to build a life where stress is effectively managed, and you’re enjoying increased long-term health and happiness.

  • What Is Stress, and What Causes It?
    Stress is your body’s response to changes in your life. Because life involves constant change (ranging from changing locations from home to work each morning to adapting to major life changes like marriage, divorce, or death of a loved one), there is no avoiding stress. This is why our goal isn’t to eliminate all stress, but to eliminate unnecessary stress, and effectively manage the rest. There are some common causes of stress that many people experience, but each person is different. To examine the areas of your life that are causing you significant levels of stress, and find resources to decrease those stress levels, take the Lifestyle Stress Test.
    Take The Lifestyle Stress Test


  • Is Stress Inevitably Harmful To Health?
    Actually, no. There are several different types of stress that range from Eustress, which is a positive and exciting form of stress, to chronic Stress, which has been linked to many serious health issues, and is the type of negative stress most often mentioned in the news. While we want to manage or eliminate the negative types of stress, we also want to keep positive forms of stress in our lives to help us remain vital and alive. Learn more about the different types of stress and their health effects with this article on stress and health.
    Learn More About Stress and Health


  • How Can I Tell When I’m Too Stressed?
    Stress affects us all in different ways, not all of which are negative. (In fact, the stress of an exciting life can actually serve as a good motivator and keep things interesting.) When stress levels get too intense, however, there are some stress symptoms that many people experience. For example, headaches, irritability and ‘fuzzy thinking’ can all be symptoms that you’re under too much stress. While not everybody who’s under stress will experience these specific symptoms, many will. To further explore your own stress symptoms and find effective ways to eliminate them, you can use this brief 20-question self assessment tool.
    Use The Stress Symptom Checker


  • What Can I Do When I Feel Overwhelmed By Stress?
    We all feel overwhelmed from time to time; that’s normal. While it’s virtually impossible to eliminate times when events conspire and the body’s stress response is triggered, but there are ways that you can quickly reverse your body’s reaction to stress, buffering the damage to your health and keeping your thinking clear so you can more effectively deal with what’s going on in the moment. This article on how to calm down quickly has five great techniques to try.
    Find The Top 5 Ways to Calm Down Quickly


  • Is There A Way To Be Less Affected By Stress?
    Actually, by practicing a regular stress management technique or two, you can eliminate some of the stress you feel right now, and make yourself more resilient in the face of stress in the future. There are several different things you can try, ranging from a morning walk to an evening journaling practice to just making more time for friends. The trick is to find something that fits with your lifestyle and personality, so it’s easier to stick with. The Stress Reliever Personality Tool was developed to assess these factors to provide you with specific stress relievers that will fit with your needs to help you find stress relief practices that work best in your specific situation.
    Find The Best Stress Relievers For Your Lifestyle and Personality


  • Ongoing Resources
    Stress management isn’t something that’s done in a day; it requires some adjustments in your lifestyle and how you handle what comes your way. There are many more important things to know about stress relief, and more valuable ways to effectively manage stress, and one of the simplest and most effective ways to find out more is to sign up for the About.com’s weekly Stress Management Newsletter. It's free, and it provides you with the most up-to-date information and helpful tools to relieve stress in your life and maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can also find free E Courses on stress management, which will help you along with specific topics like living a healthy lifestyle. Subscribe now!
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