Your Health Ben Brown | 7 years ago

Is it Stress or Anxiety?

Everyone has stress. It’s a normal part of life. It creeps up when you have too much to do or when you haven’t slept well. Or when you worry about things like your job, money, relationships, or a friend or family member who is ill or in crisis. In response to these strains, your body automatically increases your blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, metabolism, and blood flow to your muscles. This response is intended to help your body react quickly and effectively to a high-pressure situation. However, when you are constantly reacting to stressful situations without making adjustments to counter the effects, the stress you feel can threaten your well-being. One of the most negative effects from stress is anxiety, which can overwhelm more positive emotions. Anxiety can even bring on physical symptoms, such as chest pains, dizziness, shortness of breath and panic attacks. “Stress is a part of everyday life and most people handle it well,” said Mitsuko Shannon, MD. “However, it’s time to seek help when that stress becomes destructive to your everyday life and relationships. If it starts to impact your job, if it causes physical ailments or even impacts your relationships, with temper outbursts, forgetfulness or mood changes, you need to seek professional help.” Anxiety can occur with any life event that deviates from your norm. “If you can recognize that your stress is turning into anxiety and seek help before it starts to impact important areas of your life, then you can take steps to reduce or modify the stressor, or increase your ability to handle it,” said Dr. Shannon.

Questions to consider when talking with a professional:

• What are the things that cause stress and tension in your life? • How does this stress and tension affect you, your family and your job? • Can you identify the stress and tensions in your life as short or long-term? • Do you have a support system of friends/family that will help you make positive changes? • What are your biggest obstacles to reducing stress? • What are you willing to change or give up for a less stressful and tension-filled life? • What have you tried already that didn’t work for you?