Are You Stressed Out? – Signs Of Stress As Told By A Counselor

By the time you decided to read this, you already know what stress means to you. You know it connotes an unhealthy feeling, and that can potentially damage your overall well-being. You understand that stress is not something to ignore and that you should take it seriously. But how would you know what triggers your stress? What importance does knowing the triggers can do to save your emotional and mental health?

Before this article could answer that, allow me to explain. You see, knowing the triggers of your stressors is a significant part of combating the uncomfortable struggle that you have. And since most individuals have trouble identifying their triggers, almost all of them wind up with the damaging effects without knowing their cause. With that, it becomes impossible to find the right treatment and solution to stress itself. To avoid that from happening, you need to know some of the triggers contributing to your severe stress. Here is the list below.

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Financial Strain – It is a no-brainer cause of stress. Of course, financial strain is merely one of the top reasons for everybody’s stress problems. If you think about it, everybody needs money regardless of gender and status. And along with monetary problems lie a certain amount of requirements coming from mental, physical, and even emotional aspects. It’s no secret that much of the world revolves around money, and when you only have a small amount of it or entirely lack it, you’re doomed. But always stay positive and remember that there’s more to life than a piece of paper.

Wrong Environment – You need to realize that stress doesn’t only come from people. The environment you have can also impact the way you see things in life. When you are constantly surrounded by stressed individuals, violence, noise, pollution, irresponsible community, etc., expect that you will feel worse. That is because you are stuck in a place where there is no room for growth and development. Note that stress is contagious, so only two things can happen. Either you break free from the negative environment or become one of them. So be careful with the kind of environment you engage yourself in.

Toxic People – Whether it is your family or close friends, when these individuals negatively influenced your well-being, they are toxic. These types of people are everywhere. They complicate things a lot, leaving you stressed and anxious all the time. But admit it, the problem here is not about these people being around. It is you that lets them stay despite being harmful to your mental and emotional health. Think about it, if these toxic people stress you out, would it be nice just to shut them off? Please try to be aware of the kind of energy you surround yourself with.

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Damaging Habits – Most people’s problem with finding the right coping strategy for stress is that they often choose the wrong ones. That explains the use of damaging habits such as smoking and alcohol drinking. If you are one of those individuals who get rid of stress using these bad coping mechanisms, you should prepare yourself for experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression in the long run. Stress becomes more difficult to deal with when accompanied by negative habits and may require a different treatment that can take so much of your time, money, and energy.

Traumatic Childhood Experience – Your childhood experience can say a lot about your issues with stress. It can influence your attitude and personality, especially when dealing with uncertain situations. When you have a rough childhood, those unforgettable experiences bring so much mental and emotional pain, resulting in lasting mental and physical effects up to adulthood. You will develop problems with emotional regulation, self-esteem, and a negative outlook on life. A traumatic childhood experience can influence a skewed sense of self where you externalize stress reactions that lead to significant cases of depression, anxiety, or outburst.

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Life Changes – Some people embrace change because they understand the need for adjustment. However, if you are one of those who can’t seem to handle the pressure of the changes around you, you are more likely to suffer from severe stress. When that happens, you might end up having cognitive dissonance. It is a condition where your behaviors and beliefs won’t match up. You will view everything as disruptions in your life, and you’ll never get over uncertainties.

Pessimistic Life Approach – Stress can be one of the difficult mental health problems to deal with, and one thing that can trigger it is your pessimistic approach in life. If you constantly believe that life is unfair, it will continue to be like that. You will never learn and see the beauty of the struggles life is throwing at you. With your negative thinking, you will only hold on to things that eventually destroy you.

 

Stress-Management Tips (Counseling For Student’s Mental Health)

Based on most research and studies, the particular age groups of individuals prone to stress are 16 to 25 years old. Unfortunately, almost 80 percent of them are students. These individuals take a serious struggle in all aspects of their lives, including finances, academics, lifestyle and environment adjustments, family pressure, social connections, and even romantic relationships. Thankfully, there are better ways to handle stress, and here are some of the best counseling advice.

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Get Organized 

Students can easily get overwhelmed with academic pressure. That explains why most of them struggle to handle everything on their schedule and leaving some of the important tasks unattended or unfinished. But by getting organized, such as putting schedules in a calendar, creating a to-do list with a time frame on them, and consider including notes with due dates, students can greatly reduce the amount of mental and emotional chaos from their academic stress. When they learn to break seemingly overwhelming responsibilities, they should consider working on manageable steps. To sum it up, getting organized will keep students focused on time management and blocked tasks as they move forward to create more productivity.

Exercise Regularly

One thing that most students do not usually include in their busy schedule is exercise. Sadly, some students find the habit a little extra as they think of it as an unnecessary thing to do regularly. Some students are way too confident about their physical health that they are more than willing to drag it down to the worse habits such as sleeping late, unhealthy eating, binge drinking, smoking, etc. Yes, it would not be easy to incorporate exercise as a habit at the beginning. But once students finally come up with the best practice, they will soon harvest the overall positive health impact of exercise. These include a well-maintained body, increased cognitive function, and enhanced emotional intelligence.

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Avoid Distractions

All students can manage to focus on reaching their goals. However, not all of them can avoid distractions easily. While there are motivated individuals to succeed in life, there are those who put things off and procrastinate. And with the availability of mobile devices and the internet, the negative impact continues to grow over time. To get rid of that, students should avoid distractions at all costs. It would be great if they can work on a study routine without their smartphones around. They should also take small breaks during the day to encourage mind and body refreshment and prevent stress and burnout.

Enclose Social Support

Students who are too focused on their academics become stressed, lonely, and isolated. Thus, it would be best to maintain a healthy relationship with other people to balance things out. They need to surround themselves with individuals that are more than willing to help them improve their overall health and avoid the toxic ones as much as possible. They should look for a social support group that they can feel comfortable being with. But students should note that while maintaining social engagements can be beneficial, they should not overdo it. Meaning, they should not entirely neglect their academic and other personal responsibilities only to sustain social relationships.

Mindfulness Meditation

The magnitude of stressors that students face is different from one another. There are times that they feel the situation is worse while others see it as manageable. With that particular challenge, students should realize the importance of focus. They need to practice mindfulness meditation to help them activate stress-free responses. Mindfulness meditation engages in deep breathing and awareness of mind and body. It is a delicate mental shift that can help students alter fear and pain to curiosity and acknowledgment. This interesting process of deep observation assists emotional hold from stressful situations. Meaning, meditation can allow understanding of thoughts and feelings as they let go of negativity.

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Positive Self-Talk 

Most students would agree that self-talk is one of the fun and healthiest ways to reduce stress. It is a desirable process that makes people feel good about themselves. It does not take any amount of time, no pressure in doing, and anyone can easily work on the best dialogues in their heads. Positive self-talk is so powerful that it can work better in silence and even in the middle of a noisy crowd. It can work even if there’s a higher pressure or intensity from the environment. Positive self-talk promotes optimism as it continuously encourages students to look at the bright side of the situation. It can ensure emotional comfort and an opportunity for self-improvement.

Takeaway

It is entirely essential to note that a mild amount of stress is okay. Whether it is physical or mental, it can improve student’s performance healthily. However, that is only up to a certain point because further stress leads to detrimental overall health issues. It would be helpful if students can find time to consider these stress-management tips to help them with their everyday struggles. But again, some of these tips might work for some but not for others. Thus, it would be best to consult a healthcare professional for additional medical advice.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About TMS Therapy

As I was diagnosed with clinical depression, everything in my life rapidly changed. I became a different person in a short period, and it bothers me a lot. I was once active in social interactions too. But one day, things just went overboard, and I lose control over my emotional and mental health. At first, I thought it was normal, not until I figured out something was wrong with me. My full emotional and mental recovery journey was a mess, and everything was too overwhelming to handle alone.

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Don’t get me wrong. I tried the best and worked on the things I could. I tried reducing my stress and anxiety by focusing on self-care, which was not easy, by the way. I tried getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, drinking enough water, exercising regularly, etc. Basically, I managed to get on a healthy lifestyle change. However, despite all my efforts and understandable self-awareness, I still was not able to deal with my depression.

My family and friends kept on asking what is the matter with me. I tend not to answer their questions. But not because I do not want to engage with them or express my thoughts and emotions, but because I, myself, could not fathom what is happening between my emotional and psychological health.

Fortunately, one day I just had enough. I told myself that I want to get better and return to my old self. I want to do the things I loved doing before I even struggled with this mental health problem. That is where TMS came in. Let me walk you through my journey by answering some of these frequently asked questions about TMS.

How successful is TMS?

TMS is a non-invasive procedure that improves symptoms of depression by stimulating the nerve cells in the brain using magnetic fields. The usual success rate of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS is between 70% or 80%. That percentage indicates that most people find considerable mental and emotional relief after the treatment. These particularly are the people who have not achieved any satisfactory improvement before using antidepressants. But in all honesty, there’s no definitive answer to how long the TMS results will last.

 Is TMS therapy safe?

TMS requires nerve or deep brain stimulation that does not require any surgery or implantation of electrodes. Yes, it is effective since it does not cause seizures or any severe physical reactions. It does not require sedation with anesthesia, and people often experience no side effects or very mild ones. TMS is generally well-tolerated and considered safe to use.

 How long do the impacts of TMS treatment last?

People experience depression through different factors. Because of that, there is no concrete answer as to how long the TMS results will last. Fortunately, some individuals feel a slight improvement in their depressive symptoms two weeks after the treatment. Meanwhile, others notice the effects and changes in weeks four or five, and individuals who complete the full course of TMS treatment experience improvement within six months to a year. Yes, TMS results may take a while, but that does not mean that the treatment is ineffective.

 Is TMS therapy permanent?

Unfortunately, these TMS results are not permanent. While it may be encouraging, it is important to acknowledge that, like most other treatments for mood disorders, there is a chance that depressive symptoms might reoccur even in patients who complete the full course of treatment.

 Is TMS a hoax?

TMS is not a hoax. But unfortunately, the TMS device for depression was rejected by the FDA Advisory Committee in 2007 because of the failure to show overall benefits compared to a sham treatment. There is some experts’ recommendation that says that there is insufficient evidence that TMS can be considered as first-line therapy. Fortunately, in some specific cases, it may be considered an alternative treatment.

 Can TMS make you worse?

Though transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS is an effective treatment to address symptoms of depression, a trial shows that it makes anxiety worse for most individuals with panic disorder.

 Why is TMS so expensive?

TMS was initially so expensive for a couple of reasons. It has something to do with the monetary value of the machine used for the procedure. It is so expensive that most clinical experts and doctors could not afford to treat people at cheaper rates. Aside from that, the first devices available to the public usually charge the doctors a whopping price of $60 – $100 per treatment.

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 Can you consume or drink alcohol during TMS Therapy?

No, you cannot. It is vital that you avoid consuming all types of alcohol during TMS treatment. Alcohol consumption greatly raises the risk of seizure, which is not something you should not consider less. You should also avoid caffeine, especially if you intend to consume it time after time. It would be best to drink moderately if you must.

 What does TMS feel like?

TMS requires stimulation from a machine. From there, you will feel the magnetic pulses easily passing through your skull. These cause small electrical currents that stimulate nerve cells. You will hear some clicking sounds in your ears, and you will feel that there is a knocking, tapping, or tingling sensation in your head. Also, there is a slight scalp discomfort during the treatment, and it can last for a while. But these are mild conditions, and there is nothing to worry about.

 Does TMS work for everyone?

No. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) doesn’t generally work for everybody since people have different emotional, mental, and physical issues that need to be considered. Also, it is not a long-lasting cure. But when it works for a couple of people, their depressive symptoms often improve significantly. And sometimes, those mental health problems go away completely.

 Is TMS treatment painful?

No, it is not. TMS is so painless that the process can be done even if the patients are awake and alert. Unlike other drug medications, TMS does not cause severe side effects that may cause damage or alter other systems of the body.

 What are the side effects of TMS?

Some of the side effects of TMS at the site of stimulation include headache, tingling, scalp discomfort, spasms or twitching of facial muscles, lightheadedness.

 Does TMS therapy help with anxiety?

TMS therapy provides significant benefits for individuals who experience mild to severe symptoms of depression. But in some instances, TMS can reduce both depression and anxiety. That is, even if TMS is not an FDA-approved treatment for the latter mental health problem.

 Does TMS help with sleep?

 TMS helps with the improvement of quality sleep as it calms the activity in the brain area that causes insomnia. It treats the brain circuits affected by depression instead of flooding them with other forms of brain chemicals. But note that results vary from one person to another. TMS does not guarantee a general outcome, especially since people experience different factors and symptoms of depression.

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Takeaway

It is vital to take care of your health. You need to exert effort for that. But if ever you already tried working things on your own and still don’t get the results you wished to have, seek immediate help. Don’t ever think that there is no solution to your mental health problems because there actually tons of ways that can help you. You just have to explore possible solutions.

 

PMS Anxiety: Frequently Asked Questions

 

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Does your monthly period put you in a pretty nervous mood? Then you’re not the only one. You may have heard a few things told about bloating and cramping, but the true hallmark of premenstrual syndrome is anxiety.

Anxiety can be seen in various forms, although it typically includes nervousness, exaggerated worrying, and tension. Premenstrual syndrome is characterized by a combination of psychiatric and physical symptoms present during the luteal stage of a woman’s cycle. This stage starts just after ovulation and ends when your period begins – usually persisting for about two weeks.

During this time, a lot of women have minor to moderate mood swings. However, if you are experiencing severe mood swings, this could signify a more grave condition known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD.

Continue reading and learn more about why anxiety occurs before your period and how you can deal with it.

Why It Happens

Since the 21st century, scientists have not found a clear answer to the whys and hows of premenstrual conditions and symptoms. But most of them agree that PMS symptoms, which include anxiety, emerge as a response to altering progesterone and estrogen levels. The volume of these reproductive hormones increase and decrease considerably in the luteal stage of menstruation. Essentially, the body gets ready for pregnancy by increasing the production of hormones following ovulation. However, if no implantation takes place, these hormone levels then fall, and your period commences.

This hormonal process affects the brain’s neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, linked to mood regulation. This could partly be why the emergence of psychological indications like depression, mood swings, and anxiety and occur during PMS. It is not clear why some women experience more severe PMS compared to others. Still, it could be that these women are more sensitive to hormonal instabilities, potentially because of their genes.

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Below are frequently asked questions about PMS anxiety and more. 

Can anxiety affect your period?  

For some females, stress and anxiety can contribute to causing irregular periods. When stress increases, there is a possibility that your menstrual period will cease temporarily, an ailment called secondary amenorrhea.

What helps anxiety during a period?

Trying relaxation strategies to decrease stress levels may help alleviate your premenstrual anxiety. Popular strategies include meditation, massage, sleep, and yoga, among others. 

Why do I feel anxious after my period?  

The hormonal rollercoaster that occurs after a menstrual period affects neurotransmitters in the brain, like dopamine and serotonin, which are linked to mood regulation. This may explain the psychological indications like depression, mood swings, and anxiety that occur during PMS. 

Can anxiety stop your period?  

If you’re anxious or stressed, your menstrual period can last longer or shorter, your period may stop, or it may hurt more. This is the reason why you should avoid stress by making sure that you spend time for relaxation. Swimming, yoga, and jogging are great ways to help you relax. 

How long can a period be delayed?  

A period is technically delayed if it has been over 30 days from the beginning of your last period. When six weeks have passed without bleeding, this is considered a late or missed period. 

What to do if periods are not coming?  

Here are some science-backed remedies that can help improve irregular periods:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Practice yoga and meditation.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Drink vitamins regularly.
  • Add cinnamon to your water or healthy drink.
  • Eat pineapple.
  • Try apple cider vinegar.

What are the symptoms of not having a period?  

You may experience other indications or symptoms that accompany the missed or absent period, which depends on what caused the amenorrhea. Some indications include hair loss and milky nipple discharge, among others. 

Why is my period late but not pregnant?

Late or absent periods occur for a lot of reasons besides pregnancy. Common causes could include hormonal imbalance and other serious medical conditions. There are also two circumstances in a female’s life when it is completely normal for her periods to be erratic – when a period starts and when menopause begins. 

Is it normal to miss a period for a month?  

If you have not had your period for a month, try not to worry. It is not abnormal to miss a period sometimes. It may just be your body’s reaction to tension and stress or alterations in your exercise and eating routines.

How do you self-check your stomach for pregnancy?

Press your fingers on the side of your abdomen until you sense the top portion just under the skin. You’ll feel like it’s a hardball inside your stomach, particularly if you curve your fingers moderately on the abdomen. You should be in the supine position when you try to find the top of your uterus with your fingers. 

How late should my period be before I start to worry?

A period is technically considered delayed if it has been over 30 days since the beginning of your last one. After six weeks without any bleeding, you should consider your late period a missed one. Other things can also delay your period, from preexisting health illnesses and primary lifestyle modifications.

How soon do pregnancy symptoms start?

It typically takes two to three weeks following sex for a pregnancy to occur. Some individuals have observed pregnancy symptoms as prematurely as one week after pregnancy starts. This is when a fertilized egg connects to the uterine wall. Other women do not notice symptoms until several months going into their pregnancy.

What kind of breast pain indicates pregnancy?  

In the premature weeks of pregnancy, pain in the breast tends to be achy and dull. Your breasts may feel inflamed and heavy and can be very sensitive when touched. This makes foreplay and exercises very difficult.

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Conclusion

If you have PMS symptoms that do not improve despite the changes you have tried, such as improving your lifestyle or thinking that you have PMDD or PME, it is wise to follow up with your physician. If you’ve been keeping track of your period and your PMS symptoms, bring your notes along so you can discuss them as well.

If you are diagnosed with PMDD or PME, the initial treatment for these conditions is SSRIs, a type of antidepressant that increases serotonin levels in the brain, resulting in a decrease in anxiety or depression symptoms.

Minor anxiety that you experience a week or two before having your period is completely normal. However, if the symptoms you’re experiencing affect your daily life negatively, you should try to follow some tips and techniques that could help alleviate your symptoms. Begin by changing your lifestyle and practicing healthy habits. Ultimately, you will need to discuss everything with your doctor or gynecologist.

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions on Depression, Stress, and Hospitalization

 

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Each of us is quite acquainted with stress. We feel stress in different forms and levels daily. In little doses, stress could be a catalyst for our everyday activities. It is only when stress becomes too overwhelming, affecting our mental and physical states, that it poses a danger to us.

In small degrees, stressors could potentially help provide us with heightened energy and vigor, even assisting us in keeping us centered on the issue at hand. This form of stress is certainly beneficial. People may see the experience as feeling energized or wired. However, as the degree of pressure increases, stress subsequently exceeds our capacity to deal with it positively. When this happens, people describe themselves as being burned out or stressed out. But can stress really push us to have ourselves admitted to the hospital?

On the other hand, another topic that is of constant concern is depression. Depression is a usual and grave mental disorder that negatively impacts how a person feels, thinks, and acts. Luckily, like stress, there are ways to manage it. Depression presents unhappiness and a lack of interest in things that you used to love doing. It could also lead to a range of physical and emotional problems that can reduce your capacity to function at home and work. But when do you need to be hospitalized for depression?

Below are some frequently asked questions regarding depression, stress, and other conditions that might require admission to a mental health facility.

Can you be hospitalized for a mental breakdown?

In some situations of mental breakdown, hospitalization may be required for treatment and stabilization. Reasons to recommend hospital stay may include violence to self or others, complete incapacity to function, talk of death or suicide, or indications of psychosis, like delusions and hallucinations.

Can you be admitted to the hospital for stress?

If you or someone you know indicates chest pain, self-harm, or symptoms of harming others secondary to extreme stress, you can contact 911 or head to the nearest possible hospital ER.

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How long are suicidal persons hospitalized?

An inpatient stay is done when a person is inclined to harm himself or another. The estimated length of stay is one week, but it differs significantly, particularly if the patient is an active suicidal one.

How long is an inpatient mental health stay?

The estimated length of stay in a mental health facility is around two to three weeks. Most people are concerned about what it will be like with other patients in the hospital. For others, having a mental health illness can be pretty isolating.

Can a suicidal patient leave the hospital?

A person who gets admitted to a hospital voluntarily and presents with no impending risk of danger to himself or others may stress his right to deny treatment by informing the hospital that he wishes to leave. However, someone who is admitted involuntarily because he poses a danger to himself and others cannot leave – perhaps not right away.

What does a mental breakdown look like?

A person who is suffering from a mental breakdown has trouble concentrating at work. He is often distracted, depressed, burned out, afraid, and helpless. He frequently cries and is almost always angry and detached.

What are 5 emotional signs of stress?

A person is suffering emotionally if he presents with these signs:

  • Agitated, anxious, moody, and unusually angry
  • Changes in personality
  • Withdrawn
  • Hopelessness
  • Poor self-care

Can I go to ER for anxiety?

Most anxiety cases do not need medical attention. However, if you are having constant panic episodes, you may wish to visit the ER, particularly if you are experiencing chest pains. Some panic and anxiety attacks are initial indications of cardiovascular problems.

What happens when admitted to a mental hospital?

In mental hospital settings, even a patient who has involuntarily committed typically has the right to deny suggested medications, except when a legally accepted mechanism supersedes the denial. Disclosure implies that a patient needs specific information to make a sound decision to reject or allow treatment.

When should you be hospitalized for mental illness?

Often, people who have mental disorders feel like they are not so accountable. Perhaps they cannot avoid harming themselves, or they are scared that they might harm others. In a mental health hospital, one is regularly being monitored by skilled and responsible people, those who are accountable for keeping patients and their loved ones surrounding them safe.

When should you go to the ER for mental health?

Suicidal thoughts and self-harm are very solid cases where one must commit himself to the ER. Also, if you have extreme physical indications of a mental health disorder, something that threatens your well-being and bodily function, it is a very good reason to visit the emergency room.

What happens during a 72-hour psych hold?

When someone is placed on a 72-hour psych hold, the hospital or emergency department is responsible for evaluating the individual, documenting pertinent information, including psychological, medical, educational, legal, financial, and social circumstances.

Can you lose your job due to psychiatric hospitalization?

You cannot lose your job secondary to psychiatric hospitalization, as it is illegal for an employer to do so. You can sue on the grounds of discrimination, as you cannot be fired simply because you have a mental health illness. This also includes denying you of a promotion or obliging you to take a leave.

How much does it cost to be admitted to a mental hospital?

Mental hospitals typically charge uninsured patients way more than what they charge those who have coverage. In a report from 2017, the Health Care Cost Institute published that the estimated negotiated cost of an acute mental health hospitalization was over $9000 for a commercially insured person admitted to the mental facility for seven days.

What is the best mental health hospital?

Below are the top-ranking mental institutions in the United States:

  • McLean Hospital
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Sheppard Pratt Hospital
  • Menninger Clinic
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital, UCLA

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A mental health professional will normally diagnose depression and stress by asking a person about his indications and life situations. Diagnosing these two common conditions can be challenging, as it will depend on many factors. The doctor may use physiological strategies and questionnaires to identify stress and depression. However, the most precise means to identify them on a person is through a complete face-to-face interview with the person concerned.

 

 

Stress And Its Effects To Your Physical And Mental Health

Stress can sometimes be beneficial to you. Stress helps your mind and body prepare for dangerous situations by activating all bodily functions for survival. It can also increase your energy and motivation when faced with deadlines and other non-life-threatening problems. Once the situation is over, your body returns to its normal state.

However, when stress becomes chronic, it becomes harmful to your body. The stressed and high-functioning state becomes your normal state. Before you know it, you’ve burned out like a light bulb left on for too long.

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Stress And Its Causes

When you are stressed, your body releases stress hormones, namely, cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. These hormones are all good in moderation because they enable your body’s fight-or-flight response. Stressors include demands related to school or work, sudden life changes, and traumatic events.

Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, is the body’s alarm system that controls your mood, fear, and motivation. It also regulates your blood pressure, decreases inflammation, and governs your sleep cycle. On the other hand, adrenaline controls your emotions. It also increases heart rate, blood pressure, and expands air passages to your lungs. 

So what can chronic stress and increased levels of these hormones do to affect your health?

Effects Of Stress

The hormones released during stressful situations affect both your physical and mental health. The repercussions range from your nervous system to your immune system. The following are complications that are directly affected by stress.

  • Digestion Problems And Overeating
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Increased cortisol levels cause you to crave fatty foods to gain energy for dangerous situations. When you are always under stress, this craving and desire to eat more also becomes constant. Your stomach produces more acid when stressed, which then results in heartburn and acid reflux.

Stress can also cause you to seek a coping mechanism involving food. In these cases, stress-eating becomes an escape to fulfill your emotional needs. High levels of cortisol also slow down metabolism, wherein the body burns fewer calories, then stores it as abdominal fat. You may also feel less inclined to exercise. Less exercise and more calories can then lead to weight gain.

  • Chronic Heart Complications

Adrenaline, another hormone released when stressed, causes a temporary spike in your blood pressure. It enables your body to become more energetic. Chronic stress keeps the adrenaline in your system at high levels, resulting in constant high blood pressure. Extreme levels of adrenaline signal your heart to beat faster and your breathing to become shallow.

When stress becomes chronic, your cortisol levels also increase to the point it can no longer regulate inflammation. As a result, your body becomes more susceptible to heart diseases such as high blood pressure and lower HDL cholesterol. Overweight and obesity can also lead to chronic cardiovascular diseases.

High levels of cortisol also weaken the immune system, making you more prone to viral infections and common colds.

Headaches And Sleep Problems

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Stress can also cause headaches and muscle tightness around your face, neck, and shoulders. Migraines and other tension-type headaches also increase in occurrence when you are stressed.

Short-term insomnia usually happens because of psychological disorders and stress. Stress can also result in having destructive sleeping patterns, which leads to more stress during the day. Your memory retention may also be negatively affected by stress.

Effect On Mental Health

Aside from your stress’s physical manifestations, there can also be adverse effects on your mental health. Chronic stress enables you to feel sadness, fear, anger, and frustration. These emotions can lead you to become more irritable and aggressive than usual.

You may start wanting to isolate yourself from the people you love because of these emotional changes. You may also experience trouble in concentrating. Some people even resort to self-destructive habits such as smoking and drinking to keep their stress at bay. These vices lock them in a cycle of stress and harmful coping mechanisms.

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Chronic stress can also develop to become anxiety and depression. These mental health disorders can become harder to treat in the long run. To avoid this from happening,  it will be helpful to stay away from stressors. However, triggers to anxiety and depression are harder to identify, and thus harder to avoid.

Seeking Help

When your body becomes exposed to chronic stress, it may suffer different diseases such as hypertension, insomnia, and even obesity. Your body will suffer not only physically but also mentally and emotionally.  Stress can progress to become mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, which are harder to treat.

Manage your stress before it becomes chronic to live a healthier life. Stress management includes simple steps, such as taking time off, doing stress-relieving activities, and avoiding stressors.

However, when your stress becomes too much to handle, you may need mental health professionals’ aid—seeking professional help guides you to manage your stress because counseling and therapy involve targeted stress management approaches.

How To Deal With Stressful Family Situations

As a family member, stress is a normal part of life. We are not only trying to get along with one person but to multiple people at once. As you encounter different situations apart, it can be overwhelming to face all these things at once, when at home.

The fact that family members have their unique perception can cause arguments and fights from time to time. There are also events that we can’t control, such as death or financial issues.

Stressful family situations can range from seemingly small events to a full-blown crisis. Plus, different people cope with stressful situations very differently. Our unique personal coping mechanisms can lead to even more stress responses from other family members. Unmanaged stress can result in negative physical, mental, and emotional consequences. Worse, it can even transgress to chronic stress.

It is essential to recognize the critical signs of stress and identify potential stressors. For older members of the family, it is crucial to watch out for developing stressors in children. The residual effects of stress can affect children’s critical development stages.

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Ways Of Dealing With Stressful Family Situations

There are prevailing life situations that commonly fall as stressful family situations. Here are some examples of stressful family situations and how you can handle it properly. Remember, it is vital to figure out what stress management tool would work best for your family. While there is no perfect and absolute way to deal with it, here are some approaches to doing it:

Divorce

Parents’ divorce or separation can take a massive toll on both a couple and children’s’ emotional and mental health. Sometimes, a relationship is not meant to work out. The arguments and fights that come with it can be emotionally taxing. Often, divorced couples end up going against their ex-spouse, with the children in-between. It can take a lifetime trauma to the children if the parents don’t handle this situation well. 

“Just as parenting coping resources may be decreased during times of great stress, kids may act very differently from their usual behavior when they under a lot of stress,” explains Peter L. Stavinoha, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. That’s why the parents have a role in maintaining their composure.

Give your children adequate time to process the situation and expect that kids may take the situation negatively. You have to be transparent and honest with the children about the separation. Remaining on civil terms with your ex-spouse enables you to formulate an agreement that would be best for your child.

Birth

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The arrival of a new family member can be a massive adjustment for the family. Taking care of a baby comes with dedication and commitment for both parents. It changes the dynamics of the family. That’s why it’s crucial to be a support system for one another. Having great teamwork when it comes to doing tasks can let you both function without getting burned out.

While this is good news, it can mean something negative for older siblings, as parents now have to divide their attention. For parents, it is essential to balance the attention that you give to children.

Never invalidate your other children’s feelings, as this can turn into jealousy and frustration. Allow your children to speak out and listen carefully to what they say and act accordingly. By doing so, they will know that you care for them as much as your newborn.

Illness And Death

The illness or death of a family member is highly stressful for other close family members as well. Since we may all have different coping mechanisms for grief, be a helping hand and reach out for support. Stay in touch with older members of the family and check out on them.

For children, explain the situation to them clearly and allow them to express their emotions. It would be better not to sugarcoat it to prepare them for similar situations as they grow older. As much as possible, maintain normalcy but don’t block out the topic when it arises.

Remember, we all cope differently. This is a crucial period when you have to look out for one another.

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Financial Problems

Undergoing financial problems can be a long-term and ongoing source of stress and anxiety. It can affect the pillar of the family and the standard of living if left unmanaged. Be sure to check on and encourage each other during particularly hard times. A simple word of encouragement can go a long way when it comes to facing this situation.

For parents, it is essential to explain the changes to children clearly and honestly. Note that children can pick up cues on parents’ stress, which they can also adopt. Reassure them that it’s going to be okay. Don’t let it be a hindrance to your family’s quality time. You can still bond by going to parks, playing board games, etc. It’s all about being creative.

Moving To A New Neighborhood

Moving to a new house and a new neighborhood can be a highly challenging transition. Especially if you don’t know anyone around town, it can be challenging to make connections at the start. You’ll also be leaving out friends in your old neighborhood, which can cause a feeling of sadness.

Explain the situation to young children, as they will be transferring schools too and leaving their friends. Allow them to say their farewell properly and, if possible, keep in touch with their friends.

Try to make an excellent first impression when you move and be friendly to the residents. Gradually, you may find yourself being more and more comfortable and used to your new home.

Fight Stress Together

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Families are most susceptible to stressful situations. Hence, it is crucial to know how to respond to such situations. By continually supporting each other, you can fight stress together and work towards maintaining a happy life.

Also, as a family, you can do family counseling at BetterHelp. It is convenient, affordable and an online option.

Why The Pandemic Is A Good Way To Test Your Relationships

Since we are already in the computer age, I have never imagined experiencing a global health crisis. After all, pharmaceutical companies always boast about their newly invented drugs that can help with this or that disease. There is also a vaccine for almost everything, which boosts your immunity against illnesses. So, the fact that a coronavirus has already taken so many lives has shocked me.

Once I have gotten over the surprise, though, I realize that the pandemic is a good way to test your relationship with others as it allows you to know the following:

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Who Is Willing To Help You At Any Cost?

Even though most people have gone into quarantine because of the coronavirus outbreak, we can still buy food and other supplies. However, many are immunocompromised, and so they tend to fear going out. Others are required to do self-isolation, especially if they have arrived from a country with known COVID-19 cases.

Whichever situation you find yourself in, you need help from your friends and family to obtain your essentials. Giving you a call is not enough at this point. You don’t have to greet each other and risk the virus spread, but they can drop the supplies you need by the steps or front door. If anyone does that, then you know that you are genuinely cared for.  

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Who Does Not Mind Putting You In Danger?

I initially found it sweet that Kristen Bell and her kids danced in front of her husband Dax Shepard’s window when he was self-isolating after an overseas trip. But the more I think about it now, the more I see that the husband is equally sweet for not insisting on isolating with his family. Instead, he stayed by himself for 14 days and waited to get cleared by the health officials before coming home.

On the other hand, some insensitive members of the family do not care whether they may have COVID-19. Everyone knows where they have come from and that they shouldn’t be leaving their house, but you find them knocking at your door. That’s a sign for you to start reevaluating your relationship with them because your safety does not concern them.

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Who Will Turn Their Back On You?

There is no doubt about the infectiousness of the disease; that’s why it’s part of the protocol to take the patients in secured hospital rooms. But a lot of coronavirus carriers feel afraid of talking about their struggle in public because friends or acquaintances might turn their back on them even after they survive from it. 

Considering you end up testing positive with COVID-19, you should stop feeling scared of opening up about your health struggles. After all, that’s when you can figure out who you matter and don’t matter to. Those who care for you will never run away and treat you like an infectious person, especially when you are already coronavirus-free. Only your narrow-minded friends will think of doing that.

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Final Thoughts

The pandemic is not only deadly but also harsh for various relationships that you may have. Some families have become closer than ever; others have already burned bridges due to the thoughtless antics of their friends and relatives. 

This reality is saddening, all right, but it still has upsides. For one, you get to find out who will stay on your side or hide from you in the darkest time of your life. You also know who will stop at nothing to help you in their own way. Though you may lose a few individuals along the way, you will be able to keep the ones who genuinely love you. That’s what matters. 

How To Avoid Stress While Quarantined Alone?

When the news about the statewide quarantine reached me, I had two choices. I could either fly to my parents’ farm in Minnesota or stay here in New York. I ended up choosing the latter because the internet was essential for my work, and there was hardly any signal at the farm.

Despite making that choice by myself, I could not help but feel stressed about quarantining alone. I was not allowed to order food often; the laundry shop was also closed. Still, I had to tap my face several times and remind myself that stress would not do me good, especially now. So, I did the following instead:

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Start An Aquaponics Herb Garden

The most stress-relieving activity in my book is tending to a garden. I used to do that in my parents’ backyard and plant vegetables there. However, since I live in a small apartment in the city, the best thing I can do is start an aquaponics herb garden.

This project is genuinely easy; all you need are a few mason jars, water, and seedlings. It is especially useful these days, given that you are not supposed to go out only to buy basil or thyme. With an herb garden of your own, you will be able to get by without buying herbs even after the lockdown.

Subscribe To A Video-Streaming Platform

Being an old-school individual, the first week of my quarantine passed with me playing DVDs. I have an impressive collection of them, including all the Harry Potter, Twilight, Charlie’s Angels, and Star Trek movies. However, I realized that I could not watch them a second time around, so I asked my sister about what I should do. Her reply was, “Subscribe to Netflix, Disney+, HBO Go, or Hulu.”

If you ask me why it has taken me this long to sign up for any of them, I don’t know either. I have never stayed at home for weeks on end, so the idea has not crossed my mind. But I have subscribed to all those video-streaming platforms now, and I love it!

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Recreate Your Favorite Foods

The quarantine has pushed plenty of entrepreneurs to close their restaurants temporarily. My go-to place around the corner is one of them, and I feel bummed whenever I think about their rigatoni. I missed it too much that I decided to try to make the dish in my kitchen. It was not the same, but it was close, and I was pleased with its taste.

This positive experience with cooking allowed me to try recreating my other favorites. E.g., KFC’s fried chicken, Scarr’s pizza, Steve’s key lime pie, etc.

Communicate With Loved Ones

Before the lockdown, you may have barely had time to connect with family and friends. We all get it; you are busy making money and building your career. But now that the state requires you to be at home 24/7, you can talk to everyone you miss from dusk till dawn.

A routine that my parents have created is to do a video conference with my two sisters and me daily. They call around breakfast, and we watch each other cook and do other chores. It is as if we are all in the same house.

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Sleep

Yes, sleep. What else can you do when you feel like you have done everything else on your list?

Sleeping is the best for two reasons: 1) it relaxes your mind and body, and 2) the time can pass by freely. There is no need to come up with new activities or chores for yourself; you do not have to watch the news. If you keep on getting seven or eight hours of sleep until the quarantine is over, you will become a brand-new person.

What are you doing to avoid stress while quarantining alone?