Stress is how the brain and body respond to any demand or threat. The stress response is the body’s way of protecting people. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. But when stress lasts for a long time, it may harm your health. When an individual senses danger the body’s automatic process, known as “fight-or-flight” kicks in, and is also known as the “stress response.”
When an individual feels threatened, the nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which rouse the body for emergency action. The heart consequently pounds faster, the muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, the breath quickens, and the senses become sharper.
These physical changes increase strength and stamina, speed up reaction time, and enhance focus. This prepares them to either fight or flee from the danger at hand. The stress response is the body’s way of keeping people safe, and depending on the situation, a stress response can save a life in a dangerous situation, or keep an individual alert and focused during a work presentation.
Stress can be caused by various situations and pressures, which are also known as stressors. Stress can also be caused by internal factors or self-generated. What is considered stressful is very dependent on the individual themselves and how they cope with symptoms of stress. Below is a list of possible causes of stress.
Common external causes of stress include:
Common internal causes of stress include:
When talking about stress, it is mostly discussed in a ”negative” light, but there can be “good” stress and “bad stress.” Good stress also referred to as eustress, is the type of stress that individuals feel when they are excited. Similar to when the body feels threatened, when the body is experiencing excitement, like a first date or on a rollercoaster, the heart pounds or an individual’s pulse may rise. This kind of stress keeps us excited about life and feeling alive.
Good stress can help people meet daily challenges or motivate individuals to reach certain goals and is short-term. Good stress can help focus energy and sometimes improve memory. Bad stress, also known as distress, is what causes anxiety, short-term or long-term, and feels unpleasant. This type of stress is what can lead to mental and physical problems.
A universal problem with stress is that many individuals become accustomed to experiencing stress that they normalize it without coping with it. Many individuals are not aware of how the stress they are experiencing is impacting them, especially if the amount of stress is consistent and intense, like chronic stress. Acute stress, on the other hand, triggers the stress response as well, but in itself, does not take a heavy toll if the individual relaxes quickly. It is crucial to be aware of the common warning signs and symptoms of stress overload.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a cornerstone of our stress management approach. Through CBT, you'll learn to identify and reframe negative thought patterns that contribute to stress. Our stress therapists will guide you in developing healthier cognitive strategies, enabling you to approach challenges with clarity and resilience.
Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques
Practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques can significantly reduce stress and promote a sense of inner calm. Our experts will introduce you to mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and other techniques that empower you to manage stress as it arises.
There are no specific treatments for stress. But there are treatments for some of the signs and symptoms of stress. These might help if you are finding it difficult to manage stress yourself. Our experienced psychiatrists work closely with you to determine whether medication is an appropriate part of your treatment plan for stress management.
Small changes in daily habits can make a big difference in managing stress. Our team will work with you to identify lifestyle modifications, including exercise, nutrition, and sleep hygiene, that contribute to improved stress resilience and overall well-being.
Incorporating holistic therapies into your stress management plan can amplify your results. Yoga, meditation, art therapy, and nature-based activities can provide creative outlets and relaxation opportunities that nurture your well-being.
Ongoing Support and Maintenance
Stress management is a lifelong skill. At Clarity Clinic, we're committed to providing ongoing support even after formal treatment concludes. Our aftercare programs, support groups, and resources are designed to help you sustain your progress and manage stress effectively over time.
Stress doesn't have to control your life. At Clarity Clinic, we believe that by harnessing the power of proven strategies and compassionate support, you can reclaim your sense of balance and well-being. Our dedicated team is here to guide you on your journey to lasting stress management.
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