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How to Tell When You’re Stressed + What to Do About It

Health & Fitness

How to Tell When You’re Stressed + What to Do About It

Back to school season is here and the hustle and bustle of our crazy busy lives have resumed. Stress is all too common for everyone from children to adults. How do we handle daily stress and triggers? First, let’s take a moment to understand exactly what stress is and how to avoid it.

Stress is defined as “something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety.”

How do you know when you’re stressed out?
We’ve all experienced those moments when we’re “checked out” and focused on everything that could (and has) gone wrong. It feels as though every resource, support and strategy to “keep calm” is no longer effective. We feel as though we are no longer in control of the current situation. Physically we feel tired, distracted, headaches, tightness in the stomach and muscle aches. Emotionally we feel a sense of dread, fear and helplessness. Stress is the pressure and demands that we place upon ourselves and/or by others to deliver.

What to do when you’re stressed out?

Coping strategies are personalized and focused on preventing episodes of anxiety and depression. People, places, and various things can be utilized as coping strategies. Calling a friend to work through a challenging situation. Enjoying a walk on the beach or treadmill. Engaging in a creative activity such as drawing, dancing, and singing can also alleviate stress.

How do you avoid being stressed out.

Maintain high levels of neurotransmitters! Dopamine and serotonin are our bodies natural feel good drugs. When we are happy, relaxed and stress-free, our dopamine and serotonin levels are high. What is the trick? Do more of what you love and engage in helpful activities toward others. Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Play a game of volleyball outside with the kiddos. Binge-watch your favorite show. Enjoy a delicious dessert. Donate to a local charity. Prevention is the key is avoiding stress. Life is unpredictable with various unavoidable life-stressors. Planning, creating daily to-do list, setting financial budgets and utilizing the SMART goal-setting format have proven to be effective ways to avoid or decrease stress levels in various areas of our lives.

Positive thoughts, engaging in “happy” activities, and accepting the things that we cannot change will prevent high levels of stress. We can enjoy peace of mind when we accept that life is always changing and that we are never fully in control of everything. Making a daily decision to “go with the flow” will make life much easier. Refuse to sweat the small stuff. If it will not matter in five years, let it go! Be happy, be free…stress free!

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Shamanda Burston is a Licensed Therapist, Consultant and Speaker. Shamanda provides professional counseling to those with mental health disorders, addictions and other life challenges. She has presented at various professional conferences on topics such as cultural competency, trauma, mental health/substance abuse treatment, addiction and positive psychology. Shamanda holds a B.S. degree in Human Services and M.A./Ed.S degree in Mental Health Counseling/Education Specialist from Gardner-Webb University.

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