Battling overwhelming stress can feel like a lonely battle. This is far from the truth. Approximately 74% of people experience such extreme stress they are unable to cope. What’s worse is that only a small percentage of that population will seek help and guidance.
At Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates, Dr. Ronald Winfield and his team of psychiatrists and psychotherapists are dedicated to equipping you with the tools you need to take control of your stress and live a happy and healthy life.
What is stress?
Stress is simply your body’s hormonal and physical response to what it perceives as a dangerous, difficult, or demanding situation. Your body kicks into fight-or-flight mode and causes a respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous system response to help you deal with the stressor.
Some stress can actually be good. It can give you a boost of energy, heighten your senses, and keep you focused on the task before you. This kind of stress might make your palms sweaty or give you “butterflies” in the pit of your stomach. It typically goes away once you’ve dealt with the situation triggering the response.
There is stress that can be detrimental to your health and cause long-term problems. Stress that causes extreme anger, fear, worry, or frustration can have a negative impact on your life. You might feel this overwhelming stress as a result of:
- Being bullied
- Being overworked or too busy at your job
- Losing your job
- Having marriage or relationship issues
- Going through a tough divorce or breakup
- Grieving the loss of a loved one
- Having problems in school or at work
- Moving to a new place
All of these triggers can put your body into a constant defensive state. You feel physical symptoms like headaches, trouble sleeping, high blood pressure, and digestive issues. Your emotional symptoms can include increased anxiety, lack of focus and motivation, depression, and restlessness.
How do you know when your stress has crossed over from an appropriate response to an issue that can impact your overall health and well-being? Signs that you’re in a state of stress overload include:
- Frequent or newly developed panic attacks
- Constant worrying or paranoia
- Feeling you’re under pressure
- Turning to drugs and alcohol to cope
- Emotional issues like depression
- Withdrawing yourself from the things and people you enjoy
If you’re recognizing these signs and symptoms in your own life, there’s a way to calm the storm of stress inside your mind and find lasting peace. Here are the best things to do if you want to control your stress:
Get to know your stress
The first step in managing your overwhelming stress is to identify what exactly is causing your stress. Recognizing your triggers makes it much easier for you to avoid a panic attack or other negative side effects of stress.
Understand also that stress is ultimately an unavoidable part of your daily life. It will be impossible to completely remove the threat of stress, but you can learn to remove yourself from a potentially harmful situation and practice coping strategies.
Find your best stress management strategies
Stress looks different for everyone, and this means that stress management also varies from person to person. What works for you might not work for your friends or family. We recommend having a few different coping methods that you can turn to when you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed.
You can try taking a walk or getting exercise. Not only can doing this remove yourself from a stressful situation and give you new perspective, exercise releases endorphins that counter your body’s stress response. Have a trusted friend come with you for extra emotional support.
Breathing exercises are also a great way to refocus your mind and help you calm down by getting extra oxygen to your brain. Having a few go-to breathing exercises is best for stress management because you can do them anywhere.
Another great coping mechanism is taking a mental break. Pick up a new or old hobby, have a positive image you can bring up in times of stress, or spend some time journaling. Try to be intentional about your mental breaks and use them often to find peace and joy in your life.
Seek help from a medical professional
There’s no substitute for the expert guidance and support our team can provide for you. Our specialists can help you identify the causes of your stress and give you the tools you need to manage stress through our psychotherapy and counseling services.
We offer cognitive-behavioral, dialectical behavioral, and psychodynamic therapies and an excellent counseling program to help you through your overwhelming stress.
No matter what has caused your stress, we’re here to help. Don’t spend another day suffering under the weight of overwhelming stress. Call our office or schedule an appointment online today.