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How Do I Handle Stress and Anxiety?

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

June 1, 2023

Anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion. It is our body's natural response to stress and danger. However, when anxiety becomes excessive and irrational, it can interfere with daily activities and become a mental health disorder. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders in the United States, affecting millions of people each year.

Anxiety is characterized by feelings of fear, worry, or apprehension about the future. It can be experienced as physical symptoms, such as a racing heart, sweating, trembling, or shortness of breath. Anxiety can also manifest as persistent and excessive thoughts, difficulty concentrating, and avoidance of certain situations. There are several types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. Each type of anxiety disorder has its unique symptoms, but they all share the common feature of excessive and persistent worry or fear.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive worry about everyday life events and activities, often without an obvious trigger. People with GAD may worry about a range of things, such as their health, finances, work, or relationships. Panic disorder is characterized by sudden and unexpected panic attacks, which can include physical symptoms such as sweating, shaking, and chest pain. People with panic disorder often develop a fear of having another panic attack and may avoid situations where they fear having an attack. Social anxiety disorder is characterized by intense fear and avoidance of social situations, such as public speaking, meeting new people, or attending social events. People with social anxiety disorder may experience physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, and blushing. Specific phobias are characterized by an intense and irrational fear of a specific object or situation, such as flying, heights, or spiders. People with specific phobias often go to great lengths to avoid the object or situation that triggers their fear.

Stress is an inevitable part of our lives, and while it can be motivating in small doses, excessive stress can have negative effects on our mental and physical health. Fortunately, there are a variety of techniques and strategies you can use to manage and reduce stress in your daily life. Here are some tips to help you handle stress:

  1. Identify the source of your stress: The first step in managing stress is to identify the source of your stress. Is it work-related, relationship-related, or health-related? Once you know the source of your stress, you can take steps to address it.

  2. Exercise regularly: Exercise is one of the most effective ways to manage stress. Regular exercise not only improves your physical health but also boosts your mood and reduces stress levels. Whether it's a morning jog, a yoga class, or weightlifting, find an activity you enjoy and make it a part of your routine.

  3. Practice relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce stress and anxiety. These techniques help slow down your breathing and heart rate, which in turn reduces stress.

  4. Prioritize self-care: Taking care of yourself is essential for managing stress. Get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and make time for activities that you enjoy. Whether it's reading a book, taking a bath, or spending time with friends, prioritize activities that help you relax and recharge.

  5. Learn to say no: Saying "yes" to every request can quickly lead to feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Learning to say no can help you set healthy boundaries and manage your time more effectively.

  6. Seek support: Talking to a trusted friend or family member can help you manage stress. Sometimes, just talking through your feelings and concerns can help you feel better. If your stress is related to a specific issue, consider seeking professional support from a therapist or counselor.

Moving Forward

Stress is a common experience, but it doesn't have to control your life. By identifying the source of your stress and implementing stress-management techniques, you can reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.

Treatment for persistent stress includes a combination of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common form of therapy used to treat anxiety disorders. CBT helps people identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to anxiety. Medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can also be used to treat anxiety disorders. Lifestyle changes, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, and stress management, can also be effective in reducing anxiety.

Keep in mind that anxiety is a normal and healthy emotion that can become a mental health disorder when it becomes excessive and irrational. Anxiety disorders are common and can have a significant impact on daily life. However, with proper treatment and support, people with anxiety disorders can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.

Treatment For long-term Success

At Pine Ridge Mental Healthcare, we’ve found success using a variety of approaches to stress management. Getting your stress under control is a key step in managing your life.

Our team works to reduce your reliance on medications by educating you about the different tools available and how life situations can affect your mood. And we help keep you on track with regular check-ins to monitor your health.

For more information about if you may have a stress disorder or for help managing your mental health, schedule an appointment online or over the phone at Pine Ridge Mental Healthcare in Owasso, Oklahoma. If you are interested in other services we provide, check out our services page.

Further Resources

Managing stress is an important part of maintaining good physical and mental health. If you are looking for additional resources to help you manage stress, here are some suggestions:

  1. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) - The NIMH is a government agency that provides information on mental health disorders, including stress and anxiety. Their website offers a wealth of information on stress management, including tips for coping with stress, self-help strategies, and treatment options.

  2. American Psychological Association (APA) - The APA is a professional organization for psychologists that provides information on stress and stress management. Their website offers resources on stress management, including articles, videos, and webinars.

  3. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) - MBSR is a program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn that teaches mindfulness meditation as a way to manage stress. The program has been shown to be effective in reducing stress and improving overall well-being. You can find MBSR programs in many cities and online.

  4. Headspace - Headspace is an app that offers guided meditations and mindfulness exercises to help reduce stress and anxiety. The app is available on iOS and Android and offers a free trial period.

  5. Calm - Calm is another meditation app that offers guided meditations, breathing exercises, and relaxing music to help reduce stress and improve sleep. The app is available on iOS and Android and offers a free trial period.

  6. Yoga - Yoga is a physical practice that can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Many yoga studios offer stress-reducing classes, such as restorative or gentle yoga, that are accessible to people of all levels. You can also find online yoga classes and resources.

Remember, managing stress is a process that takes time and effort. Don't be afraid to reach out for help and support if you need it. With the right resources and strategies, you can learn to manage stress and improve your overall well-being.

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