Stress, a sense of emotional or physical tension, may arise from an unpleasant thought or an event that makes one angry, fearful, nervous or frustrated.
Stress appears as body’s autonomous response to a challenge or demand. It can be good in short bursts as it prepares a person to avoid a danger or meet a deadline. But, it can take a toll on an individual’s health if it is prolonged or becomes chronic.
Though it is difficult to avoid stress in today’s life, at Athena, we help one manage or deal with their stress levels in the following ways:
- Meditation and Mindfulness-Based Stress Management (MBSR)
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Meditation and Mindfulness-Based Stress Management (MBSR)
Meditation, an ancient therapeutic practice, allows one to achieve a relaxed state of mind by focusing on breathing and awareness of the body in the present.
MBSR is a program based on the principles of meditation that help people identify and eliminate negative thoughts. It involves a set of therapies that can help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression among people battling stress.
According to widespread researches on the technique, MBSR may help:
- Reduce and manage stress and worrying
- Deal with emotional ups and downs
- Build greater resilience
- Enhance memory and focus
- Enrich relationships
- Improve mood
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a gold-standard treatment protocol used to treat different types of mental health disorders including stress-related problems.
At Athena, we successfully use CBT to bring desirable behavioral change in people battling different mental health problems. With CBT, we aim at:
- Enabling people with stress to recognize the problematic areas in their lives
- Motivating patients to get rid of negative thoughts and cooperate with therapists
- Suggesting effective techniques to manage stressors
- Helping recover faster and learn effective ways to ward of stress
We assure that all the stress management techniques practiced at Athena are safe and have no side effects. Do not wait until persistent stress leads to other devastating illnesses and damages your health, relationships or quality of life.
Types of Stress
Stress can be divided into two types: Acute stress and Chronic stress. The characteristics of both these types are discussed below.
- Is short-term stress that is temporary
- May arise in situations like:
- Sudden slamming of brakes
- Fight with partner or
- Skiing down a steep slope
- Is not threatening as it prepares one to manage dangerous situations
- All people experience acute stress at some points in their lives
- Does not need treatment as it goes away on its on once the cause goes away
- Lasts for a longer period, sometimes for weeks or months
- May arise from long-term troublesome situations like
- An unhappy marriage
- Money problems
- Trouble at work
- Becomes a part of life exerting constant pressure on mental and physical health
- All people may not experience chronic stress
- Needs timely treatment to ensure that it does not lead to serious health problems
How Stress Affects Body
Stress causes the body to release hormones that make the brain more alert, tense muscles, and increase pulse rate. These responses are to protect the body in the short-term by making one more alert to crisis situations.
However, repeated exposure to stressful situations over a prolonged period may pose health challenges as it keeps the body alert even when not required.
The health challenges associated with chronic stress may include:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Depression or anxiety
- Menstrual problems
- Skin problems, such as acne or eczema
If you are struggling with these health problems, chronic stress may make them worse.
Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Stress
Stress can lead to a range of physical and emotional symptoms. Most people tend to overlook symptoms that are caused by stress, which when left untreated may lead to anxiety, depression or even alcohol abuse.
Watch out for the following signs and symptoms of chronic stress and if noticed seek immediate professional help without wasting any more time.
- Lack of energy or focus
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Frequent aches and pains
- Sexual problems
- Tiredness and stiff jaw or neck
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs to relax
- Upset stomach
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
Things which may cause stress are known as stressors. Different people may have different types of stressors. Some of the most common stressors include:
- Job pressure
- Relationship problems
- Financial concerns
- Death of a close family member
- Having a baby
- Having a serious illness
Sometimes, even essentially positive events, such as buying a house, getting married, having a baby or any recent change in life may also act as a stressor. Professional help will help one identify the stressor and help plan strategies for stress management.
When You Require Immediate Attention
- Feelings of panic, such as rapid breathing, dizziness, or a racing heartbeat
- Inability to work or function at home or at your job
- A persistent sense of unknown fear
- Having memories of a traumatic event