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Stress Management

Stress – just the thought of it may be enough to make your heart start pounding and your hands get sweaty. Stress is something we all experience at times. People react and respond differently when encountering stressful events. In order to avoid potentially serious health effects from stress, it is important to keep in mind your limitations. It is also important to recognize when stress is impacting you in a negative way.

Understanding Stress

Stress is our brain and body’s way of responding to any type of demand. Both good and bad experiences can trigger a stress response. Our perception of a stressful situation can also play a role whether real or not in how we respond. Stress can be either long term or short term. It can be as mild as a bicycle ride on a busy street to dealing with a family member struggling with a serious mental or terminal illness.

Stress can be a good and necessary response in certain circumstances. For example when facing a potentially life threatening situation, the stress response kicks in releasing chemicals and hormones into your body. You may feel your pulse quickening, your breathing getting more rapid, your muscles tensing – all of these functions are aimed at your survival. The problem occurs when short-term stress turns into chronic stress. Chronic stress can jeopardize your mental and physical health.

People Have Different Stress Reactions

People respond differently to stress. Some people may experience tension or migraine headaches. Some may feel irritable, angry, or depressed. Still other people experiencing stress have digestive problems, stomach pain and body tension. People with long term or chronic stress may experience compromised immune systems and be more susceptible to viral infections like the cold or flu.

Over the long term stress can also react in the body by increasing the levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone. Heightened cortisol levels can lead to gaining weight and even more serious health complications, such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

What Can be Done?

Stress has a tendency to sneak up on us. We may be doing fine one day, tending to normal and everyday routine. Then without notice, work deadlines creep up, you’re feeling stretched with the kid’s schedules, and you start thinking there’s not enough time in the day and you see no relief in sight. You are stressed.

Taking practical steps to prevent stress from becoming debilitating is important. Here are some things to consider when you are trying to determine your stress level:

  • feeling restless
  • irritable
  • difficulty falling asleep
  • waking up in the middle of the night
  • fatigued
  • low energy
  • often discouraged
  • drained

If you can relate to many of these areas you may be reaching your threshold for how much stress you can handle. If you are feeling overwhelmed and not sure what to do, contact Dr. Bisignano in Palos Verdes today for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation and see how she can help you learn to manage your stress (424) 206-9055.

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