What Is Psychological Stress And What Can You Do About It

Stress is a common condition characterized by physical and emotional strain. This can be aย  result of different factors. For instance, when your employer puts you under immense pressure at work, you are likely to experience emotional stress, which may negatively affect your performance on the said job.

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In some cases, individuals suffering from stress will experience nothing more than a few mild issues like headaches, sleep disturbance, and digestive problems. In other instances, the condition can be severe enough to induce mental health problems like depression and anxiety. Meanwhile, untreated chronic stress can result in severe medical complications like hypertension and weakened immune response.

You should know that not all types of stress are bad. Eustress is a beneficial type of stress that encourages individuals. This kind of stress motivates and improves performance, but it is usually short-term.

The perfect example of eustress is getting a promotion at work. The promotion comes with perks like increased salary and bonuses, but it also puts you under more pressure since youโ€™ll probably have a bigger workload. However, due to the benefits that come with the promotion, the pressure to improve your performance will positively affect you. 

Another example is conceiving a child. Newborns come with responsibilities. Youโ€™ll be under pressure to adjust your financial and personal life to accommodate the new member of your family. However, having a child is one of the biggest achievements for most people. Therefore, the stress to accommodate the baby is more than welcome.

Signs And Symptoms Of Psychological Stress

Psychological stress manifests in different ways. These signs can be placed under four broad categories: 

  • Physical Signs: These may include headaches, high blood pressure, sleep disturbance, digestive issues, changes in the menstrual cycle, reduced sex drive, infections, changes in weight, fatigue, etc.
  • Psychological Signs: The patient may experience anxiety, depression, worry, and difficulty concentrating and remembering.
  • Emotional Signs: Emotional signs include irritation, mood swings, and angriness.
  • Behavioral Signs: These include social withdrawal, losing interest in hobbies and other things you once enjoyed, poor self-care, increased drug use, and losing control over your emotions.

Identifying Stressors

Stressors are the factors that induce pressure resulting in stress. These can be people, situations, or events. Identifying your stressor can help you avoid distress altogether. 

Here are some examples of common stressors:

  • Financial instability
  • Job insecurity
  • Relationship conflicts
  • Increasing responsibilities
  • Medical problems
  • Traumatic events like a car crash
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Experiencing abuse
  • Separation from a partner

Treatment

Therapy and mental health professionals can work with you to treat the different symptoms of stress. Itโ€™s worth noting that stress is not a distinct diagnosis, so no specific intervention is guaranteed to work for everyone. 

Depending on the type of stress, stressors, and symptoms, a medical practitioner may prescribe different medications and therapies. 

Some of the standard therapies used to treat psychological stress are:

Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is an interesting form of psychotherapy that uses sensory input to promote recovery from traumatic events or situations that caused stress. The technique is based on the concept of CBT. It aims to unblock emotional processes that were affected by the trauma. 

EMDR uses eye movement, audio stimulations, and hand clapping. It is conducted by trained mental health counselors and psychologists. A quick EMDR therapy near me google search should give you a list of professionals who can help you directly or with a referral. Be prepared to answer a few tough questions to identify the underlying problem.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT teaches you how to identify behaviors causing stress. It also trains you on how to change the negative patterns. 

There are different types of CBT techniques designed to target behavior, emotions, and thoughts. To identify the appropriate approach for your unique situation, your physician will have to ask difficult questions about the underlying issues.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be conducted face-to-face or online. 

Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

As the name suggests, MBSR uses mindfulness and meditation to address behaviors, emotions, and thoughts that cause distress.

MBSR therapy usually involves yoga and meditation. The technique can be used in self-treatment, but it is advisable to consult a licensed medical practitioner.

Coping with stress

In addition to therapy, you can manage your stress with the following techniques:

  • Get sufficient rest
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Incorporate relaxation exercises into your lifestyle
  • Follow a healthy diet
  • Find a balance in everything you do
  • Practice self-compassion

Psychological stress can escalate to severe medical conditions at a rapid rate. Itโ€™s imperative to consult the right professionals as soon as possible for swift intervention.

Krystal | Sunny Sweet Days
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