Let’s face it, we all deal with stress to some extent.
This is especially true during these uncertain times. Stress is a natural response to a perceived threat (the fight-or-flight response) that dates back to our ancestors.
Not all stress is bad
However, when you feel stressed, your body experiences a collection of changes known as your stress response. These changes affect the way you feel and how you react to them matters.
Here’s a look at five common negative stress responses and what to do about them.
Addiction is a common response to stress that manifests in many negative habits. Individuals can overindulge in alcohol, food, drugs, and even spending. All of these negative responses are done to cope with stress or pain. For some, it can work temporarily but the long-term effects of addition are crippling.
During COVID-19, it’s especially important to prevent boredom from triggering cravings. If you find yourself with too much free time these days, take up a fulfilling hobby. Not only will it keep you busy, but it can also help you stay sober and healthy.
People under stress can become desperate. They can even involve themselves in more risky behavior as a way to escape negative emotions. This can result in anything from dangerous sexual encounters, to drug use, to physically harmful situations. Risk-taking actions should be avoided at all costs.
Start by recognizing your triggers when it comes to risk-taking. Try seeing opportunities instead of risks and don’t act impulsively. Don’t feel ashamed to ask for support and assistance as you try to avoid stressors.
Aggression is another default response to stress. Many people think that aggression is a healthy catharsis and that letting more violent emotions out will relieve them of stress. In truth, aggression can worsen stress.
Stress and aggression feed off one another. The angrier someone gets the more stress they will experience. This creates a vicious and unrelenting cycle. Try finding a healthy release for your aggression and anger like exercise and therapy. Many times aggression and agitation can be a sign of something more so don’t hesitate to reach out for support for safety and wellness.
Avoidance is another unhealthy way some people deal with stress. Ignoring the problem can help elevate the stress at the moment but results in an unrelenting cycle in the end. Avoidance does not fix stress, it only amplifies it. In reality, stress cannot be entirely avoided.
Learning how to deal with stress, and facing what causes it can reduce its effects and help to make it less of a burden. Instead of avoiding a problem…face it! Try approaching the problem with a positivity mindset and create a plan to fix it.
Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Untreated stress can cause potentially serious physical and mental health problems. We understand the extra stress you might be facing during this challenging time.
Our team is here for you through convenient telepsychiatry appointments to help you manage stress and find solutions for wellness.
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