Stress can come from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or anxious. What is stressful to one person is not necessarily stressful to another.
Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension or fear. The source of this uneasiness is not always known or recognized, which can add to the distress you feel.
Stress is a normal part of life. In small quantities, stress is good — it can motivate you and help you be more productive. However, too much stress, or a strong response to stress, is harmful. It can set you up for general poor health as well as specific physical or psychological illnesses like infection, heart disease, or depression. Persistent and unrelenting stress often leads to anxiety and unhealthy behaviors like overeating and abuse of alcohol or drugs.
The most effective solution is to find and address the source of your stress or anxiety. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. A first step is to take an inventory of what you think might be making you “stress out”:
•What do you worry about most?
•Is something constantly on your mind?
•Does anything in particular make you sad or depressed?
•Keep a diary of the experiences and thoughts that seem to be related to your anxiety. Are your thoughts adding to your anxiety in these situations?
Then, find someone you trust (friend, family member, neighbor, clergy) who will listen to you. Often, just talking to a friend or loved one is all that is needed to relieve anxiety. Most communities also have support groups and hotlines that can help. Social workers, psychologists, and other mental health professionals may be needed for therapy and medication.
Also, find healthy ways to cope with stress. For example:
•Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet. Don’t overeat.
•Get enough sleep.
•Limit caffeine and alcohol.
•Don’t use nicotine, cocaine, or other recreational drugs.
•Learn and practice relaxation techniques like guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, tai chi, or meditation.
•Take breaks from work. Make sure to balance fun activities with your responsibilities. Spend time with people you enjoy.
•Find self-help books at your local library or bookstore.