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Put Some Stress on Stressing Less

Managing stress

Think back to the last time you truly felt relaxed. We hope it was fairly recently, but if you have to go back away to recall a feeling of relaxation, that is okay, too. The deeper into your memories you have to dig to find moments of real ease and contentment, the more you prove your point.

That point is this: Most of us are feeling some degree of stress nearly all the time. The fact that it can be hard to remember a moment when you were truly relaxed makes this clear.

We are stressed at work or at school. We are stressed in our relationships. Our commute is stressful. Our finances are stressful. Raising kids or caring for aging parents (or the combination of the two) is stressful. We are sure you can think of plenty of other things that stress you out.

On the flip side, many people—perhaps you yourself—are not very good at managing stress or finding ways to set it aside in favor of resting and recharging. Managing stress, however, is an absolutely essential skill to develop if you want to protect and improve your mental health. 

What Stress Can Look Like in Your Life

An article from WebMD titled “What to Know About Stress and How It Affects Your Mental Health” lists potential symptoms that may be the result of ongoing stress in a person’s life. They include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Feeling hopeless and depressed
  • Panic attacks
  • Lack in self-confidence
  • Unable to make decisions
  • Uncaring attitude towards family and responsibilities
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of appetite and trouble sleeping 
  • Change in sexual drive
  • Unmotivated and unfocused
  • Social withdrawal
  • Drinking too much
  • Reduced levels of performance and productivity

That is quite a list, and it brings into focus just how much high, ongoing levels of stress can impact a person’s physical and mental health—and by extension, a person’s overall quality of life. It is also important to note—as evidenced by the inclusion of “drinking too much” among the symptoms—that stress can all too easily lead to the development of a substance use disorder.

Some Tips and Tricks for Derailing the Stress Train 

How serious is the threat that stress poses to mental well-being? Well, the National Institute of Mental Health thinks it is serious enough that the government agency created a fact sheet and infographic with the title “I’m So Stressed Out!

The NIMH points out the importance of managing stress effectively (the agency also considers the ways in which stress and anxiety can be—but are not always—intertwined). Too much stress can interfere with your ability to complete tasks, for example, which can in turn add to the level of stress you are experiencing until it feels as though it never goes away.

Here are some ideas the NIMH offers for dealing with stress (and anxiety). The links will take you to other Peak View Behavioral Health blog posts that support these ideas:

  • Download an app with relaxation exercises.
  • Avoid excess caffeine.

In addition to the NIMH list of ideas, we would add finding an engaging hobby and scheduling (yes, scheduling) regular time to enjoy it. We also firmly believe that you should be taking a vacation regularly (and you should also just be taking the occasional day off to recharge).

Keep Stress in Perspective

It is important to remember that stress is an unavoidable part of life. None of the suggestions above will completely eliminate stress. So, please, whatever you do, do not stress about whether you are eliminating enough stress from your life! 

But we can all get better at managing stress so that it is less likely to overwhelm us and lead to other problems like mental health disorders, substance use disorders, and/or problems related to our physical health.

Do Not Stress About Where to Find Help

Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Peak View Behavioral Health offers personalized, evidence-based treatment for mental health disorders including the various kinds of depression, anxiety and panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more. If you (or someone you love—including your adolescent child) are struggling with your mental health, we are ready to help. 

You can rest assured that you will not find stigma or judgment or cookie-cutter approaches to care at Peak View. What you will find is a compassionate team of highly trained, experienced mental health professionals who can help you make and sustain improvements to your mental health. That, in turn, can change your experience of everyday life for the better. We simply cannot stress enough how much better you can feel when you seek out mental health treatment at Peak View Behavioral Health.

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