Don’t Let Stress Run Your Life: Symptoms of Chronic Stress & How to Manage it
Stress is a common, even positive feeling that we all experience throughout our lives in response to certain situations. Thanks to stress, our bodies produce cortisol and adrenaline which essentially give us a kickstart to take action and get things done. When the situation passes, stress levels return to normal … at least, they are supposed to. However, in today’s fast-paced world, moments between states of stress seem to be getting shorter and shorter. This leads to many being stuck with prolonged and consistently high levels of stress: chronic stress.
The exact switch from acute, normal stress to chronic stress cannot typically be identified, which leads to chronic stress not being prioritized or even recognized by many of those experiencing it, despite all of the mental and physical strains it takes on us. What we think is part of our normal day could actually be a result of our bodies being stuck in high alert. This is why it is important to be informed of the symptoms and how to manage them.
Common Symptoms of Chronic Stress
- Fatigue and Insomnia
- Digestive Issues and Changes in Appetite
- Issues with Concentration and Brain Fog
- Lowered Libido
- Difficulty Relaxing
- Frequent Illnesses
- Body / Muscle Pains
How You Can Address Chronic Stress
One of the most important ways to deal with chronic stress is by making lifestyle changes, since our lifestyles are typically what brings on the stress. Certain habits such as meditation, physical activity, a regular sleep schedule, and a well-balanced diet can aid in bringing stress levels down. Making time to connect with friends and family, finding a hobby, and identifying triggers are also all useful ways to bring down and manage stress levels.
However, dealing with chronic stress can feel overwhelming, which is why therapy can help guide you on your path when you are unsure of where to start or feel like your strategies are not working. Therapy can help teach you time management and mindfulness techniques, help set realistic goals, build stress reduction techniques, and provide a safe space to release your thoughts.
Those with chronic stress are typically stuck in a negative loop. The symptoms they experience from stress just result in more stress which worsens the symptoms. This is why it is not enough to only manage chronic stress when it comes on; we need to prioritize recognizing and managing acute stress before it becomes chronic. Our bodies and minds are not designed to live in a constant state of high alert.
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