Everyone experiences stress. When stress persists, however, the body begins to break down and problems like essential tremor can occur or become worse. Coping with stress requires identifying stressors in your life and learning ways to reduce them.
What Is Stress?
Stress is your reaction to any change that requires you to adjust or respond. It is important to remember that you can control stress, because stress comes from how you respond to certain situations.
What Causes Stress?
Stress can be caused by anything that requires you to adjust to a change in your environment. Your body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. We all have our own ways of coping with change, so the causes of stress can be different for each person.
Common causes of stress include:
- Death of a loved one
- Marital difficulties/divorce
- Legal problems
- Job loss/new job
- Money problems
What Are the Warning Signs of Stress?
When you are not sure of the exact cause of your stress, it may help to know the warning signs of stress. Once you can identify these signs, you can learn how your body responds to stress and can take steps to reduce it. Your body sends out physical, emotional, and behavioral warning signs of stress.
Emotional Warning Signs of Stress
- Inability to concentrate
- Excessive worry
- Frequent mood swings
Physical Warning Signs of Stress
- Stooped posture
- Sweaty palms
- Chronic fatigue
- Weight gain or loss
- Erectile dysfunction
Behavioral Warning Signs of Stress
- Acting on impulse
- Using alcohol or drugs
- Withdrawing from relationships
- Changing jobs often
How Can I Cope With Stress?
- Lower your expectations; accept that there are events beyond your control.
- Ask others to help you, delegate.
- Take responsibility for the situation.
- Engage in problem solving.
- Express distressing emotions; be assertive instead of aggressive.
- Maintain emotionally supportive relationships and emotional composure.
- Avoid sources of stress.
- Learn to relax.
- Eat and drink sensibly.
- Stop smoking or other bad habits.
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy sense of self-esteem.
When Should I Seek Help for Stress?
You should seek help in dealing with your stress when you experience any of the following:
- Marked decline in work/school performance
- Excessive anxiety
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Inability to cope with demands of daily life
- Irrational fears
- Significant change in sleeping or eating habits
- Persistent physical ailments and complaints
- Suicidal thoughts or urge to hurt others
- Self-mutilation or other self-destructive behavior
- Sustained withdrawn mood or behavior
Where Do I Go to Get Help for Stress?
Your personal doctor can determine if your stress is due to an anxiety disorder, a medical condition, or both. Your doctor can refer you to a mental health professional, if necessary. If the situation is an emergency, call a crisis hotline or go to the nearest emergency room.