Stress is unavoidable in your everyday life. Whether it is work and academic pressures, paying bills, family issues, or a traumatic event such as an accident or natural disaster—stress comes part and parcel with managing your day-to-day affairs. In some respects, stress can be a good thing. Stress can be a great motivator and can focus your energy to enhance your performance and meet your goals. However, stress can also wear you out and can increase the risk of serious health issues, mental health issues, and even substance abuse.
In order to minimize the risk of stress negatively impacting your life, you need to find healthy ways to deal with daily stress. This article will outline why you experience stress, its impacts on your recovery, and the best ways to cope with stress. If stress is causing disruption to your daily life and impacting your relationships with those you love, call Rise in Malibu today and learn more about our evidence-based and effective mental health programs.
What is the Difference Between Stress and Anxiety?
Oftentimes people will group stress and anxiety together and view it as the same thing. Both stress and anxiety affect the mind and body and produce symptoms such as tension, headaches, loss of sleep, and elevated blood pressure. However, it is important to realize that stress and anxiety are two different things. In order to get help with stress or to cope with anxiety, you need to know the sources of both stimuli.
Stress is the result of an external cause like a family argument or taking a test. Stress often goes away after the situation is resolved, and you can move on with your day. Anxiety is an internal reaction to stress. While stress dissipates for the most part after a situation resolves, anxiety is a persistent feeling of unease—even if there is no immediate threat.
Why Do We Feel Stress?
There is a myriad of factors that can lead you to feel stress. Each person will have different reactions to stressful situations. In some instances, some people will feel stress just by thinking about a trigger situation. One factor that can make you vulnerable to stress is a pre-existing or undiagnosed mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression.
The following are major life events that can trigger stress:
- Issues at work
- Financial hardship
- Death of a loved one
- Family problems
- Chronic serious illness
- Problems with relationships
- Marriage issues and divorce
- Fear of having an accident
- Issues with neighbors or co-workers
- Becoming a parent
- Constant loud noise
- Uncertainty of an outcome
How Can Stress Impact Our Recovery?
If you are in recovery from substance abuse, finding healthy ways to cope with stress is vital to your continued recovery. In active addiction, you used substances as a way to help with stress or to cope with your anxiety. While drugs and alcohol provided temporary relief, you were not addressing the underlying causes of your stress. Finding positive ways to cope with stress becomes paramount in your newfound sobriety. If you are unable to cope with your stress and anxiety in your daily life, it makes you more vulnerable to relapse. In the event that you relapse, it can become harder to regain sobriety.
What are the Best Ways to Cope with Stress?
Is stress getting the better of you? Are you feeling burdened or overwhelmed with stress, and is it negatively affecting your life? The following are simple yet healthy ways you can cope with stress:
Take Care of Your Body
One of the best ways to cope with stress is by taking care of your body. This includes eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and getting restful sleep each night. You also want to avoid excessive use of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. Additionally, it is wise to get your annual checkup and get routine vaccinations and health screenings as advised by your healthcare provider.
Unplug from Media
Another effective way to cope with anxiety and stress is to take a break from watching, reading, or listening to the news—this includes anything on social media. While it is good to be informed of current events, the constant bombardment of traumatic news can create overload. If you can, limit your news to select times during the day. Also, have times in your day to disconnect from your phone, TV, and computer.
Have “Me” Time
Find a time during your day every day to have alone time. Use this “me” time to engage in activities or hobbies that you enjoy. You can also use that time journal or meditate.
Talk to Others
Another one of the best ways to cope with stress is to talk to family, friends, and others who support you. Sharing your feelings and problems with those you trust can help you distress and get things off your chest.
Is Stress Ruining Your Life?
Has stress been getting the better of you? Do you need help managing your stress before it develops into something that impacts your health and well-being? Call Rise in Malibu toll-free today and speak to one of our dedicated staff members about our mental health programs. Our programs are evidence-based, extensively tested, and proven to work for you. No matter the severity of your stress, the experienced treatment team at Rise in Malibu can help you!