What is Stress?
The term stress corresponds to the various pressures or tensions in your life. You may experience stress for a variety of reasons, such as financial challenges, health concerns, or difficulty at work. Regardless of its root cause, stress can oftentimes be overwhelming and affect your mental and physical health.
Some stress is a part of normal life and can be helpful. It can help you develop skills needed to manage potentially threatening situations. Stress can be harmful, however, when it is prolonged or severe enough to make you feel overwhelmed and out of control.
Many of us face challenges in life that can be stressful and overwhelming. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, but learning to cope with and reduce stress in a healthy way will help you and the people you care about.
What are the symptoms of Stress?
Stress can cause the following:
- Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, worry, numbness, or frustration
- Feeling depressed
- Feelings of anxiety
- Changes in appetite, energy, desires, and interests
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Nightmares or problems sleeping
- Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, or skin rashes
- Worsening of chronic health problems and mental health conditions
- Increased use of alcohol, illegal drugs (like heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine), and misuse of prescription drugs (like opioids)
How to Prevent Stress:
Taking steps to reduce stress in your life can have powerful health benefits. Below are a few ideas for reducing stress in your life:
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Take breaks from news stories, including those on social media. Consider limiting news to just a couple times a day and disconnecting from phone, tv, and computer screens for a while.
- Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations.
Take care of your body by:
- Eating healthy and limiting saturated fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars
- Going to bed at the same time each night, including on the weekends, can help you sleep better (seven or more hours per night for adults)
- Move more and sit less - every little bit of physical activity helps. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress
- Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate
- Limit alcohol intake
- Avoid using prescription drugs in ways other than prescribed, someone else’s prescription, or illegal drugs
- Avoid smoking and the use of other tobacco products. People can and do quit smoking for good
- Continue with regular health appointments, testing, and screening
When you’re stressed out, meditation and breathing exercises are great for calming the mind.
There are also free and confidential crisis resources that can help you or a loved one connect with a skilled, trained counselor in your area for additional help.
Some people who are experiencing particularly high stress may think about hurting themselves or committing suicide. If you are having thoughts about hurting yourself, please get help immediately. These resources are here to help you:
- Call 911
- Reach out to a close friend or loved one
- Go to the nearest hospital emergency department
- Get help from your primary doctor or other health care provider
- Call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
How can San Ysidro Health help?
If you are having trouble managing your stress, we can help. Call or text (619) 662-4100 to schedule an appointment with one of our behavioral health providers.
To learn more about San Ysidro Health’s Behavioral Health Services department, click here.