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Stress Management

Stress is a natural part of life that affects us all. The responsibilities we have with families, jobs, and life aren't going to be perfectly balanced all of the time. It's normal for stress to come and go throughout our lives.

However, when left unmanaged, stress can impact our physical and mental well-being. At RISE, we're here to provide support and guidance in managing stress effectively.

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What is Stress?

Stress can be defined as the body's response to perceived threats or challenges, whether real or imagined. Consider the fight or flight instincts you probably learned about in grade school. These adaptive instincts can help us adjust to the demands of a situation.

 

Stress itself is not inherently negative, and can sometimes motivate individuals to perform better. However, chronic or overwhelming stress can have detrimental effects on mental well-being.

Stress management focuses on understanding and addressing the underlying causes of one's stress. Working through counseling, such as with RISE, can help you improve resilience and mitigate the negative impact stress has on our mental health.

Common Causes of Stress

Stress can arise from various sources, including:

Workplace pressure such as demanding deadlines, long hours, or conflicts with colleagues can contribute to work-related stress.

Relationship issues like strained relationships with family members, friends, or partners can cause emotional stress.

Financial concerns cause significant stress when you're worried about money, debt, or unexpected expenses.

Health challenges, whether personal or that of a loved one, can be emotionally taxing and stressful.

Major life changes, including moving, divorce, or the loss of a job can trigger stress.

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Symptoms of Stress

Signs and symptoms of stress can manifest in various ways, affecting both the body and the mind. Individuals may experience a combination of stress symptoms, and the severity can vary from person to person. Recognizing these signs is the first step towards effectively managing stress and seeking appropriate support when needed.

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  • Headaches, muscle tension

  • Sleep problems, fatigue

  • Digestive issues like stomachaches, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation

  • Sweating, sometimes excessively

  • Increased heart rate due to our fight or flight response

  • Weakened immune system

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Types of Stress

Acute Stress - short-term and often results from specific events or situations. It can be intense but usually resolves once the situation is resolved.

Chronic Stress - long-term and ongoing, often resulting from situations that are prolonged or recurring. It can have a more significant impact on overall health if left unmanaged.

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Misconceptions About Stress

It should be no surprise that myths and misconceptions about stress play a part in our everyday lives. Have you heard any of these before?

Myth: Stress is always harmful.

Not all stress is inherently bad. A certain level of stress can be motivating and help individuals perform better in certain situations.

Myth: Stress affects everyone in the same way.

We all have different thresholds for stress and unique coping mechanisms, so what may be stressful for one person might not be as stressful for another.

Myth: Stress is purely a mental issue.

While often associated with psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression, stress can also manifest in many physical symptoms.

Myth: Stress is caused solely by external factors.

Internal factors such as perfectionism, negative thinking patterns, and lack of coping skills can also play a role in our stress level.

Myth: Avoiding stress is the best way to manage stress.

While it may provide temporary relief, it does not address the underlying issues or build resilience. There's better long-term approaches.

Stress Management Treatment

Through working with a therapist, you can learn to identify the types of things that cause your stress. This is crucial for effective management. These are some common stress management techniques:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors contributing to stress.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR): teaches techniques to increase awareness of the present moment, reducing stress reactivity.

Relaxation techniques: practices such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery can promote relaxation and reduce stress.

Lifestyle changes: healthy lifestyle habits including regular exercise, balanced nutrition, adequate sleep, and time for relaxation and hobbies can significantly reduce stress levels.

Supportive counseling: talking to a therapist in a supportive and non-judgmental environment can help individuals explore stressors, develop coping strategies, and build resilience.

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If you're experiencing stress and its effects on your life, know that you're not alone. RISE can help you take the first step toward a healthier, more balanced life.

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