Stress affects far more than the mind. Learn how to manage it before it controls you.
Stress leads to fatigue
Stress can be effectively managed through a variety of approaches
People are often acutely aware of the way stress affects them mentally, but physical symptoms of stress can present themselves all over the body. Levels of stress from one person to the next are tough to measure. Two individuals going through a divorce could feel extremely different levels of stress regarding the same situation.
When stress starts to impact the body, it has become a serious medical problem. Especially if a person is experiencing some sort of problem, a measure of stress is normal, but stress that starts to cause pain or other physical problems can have a severe impact on a person’s overall wellbeing if left unchecked.
Stress may be a mental health disorder, but many of its symptoms are physical. Stress can cause nagging pain all over the body, and it can cause a person to lack the necessary energy to accomplish daily tasks. These symptoms often mean that it is time to seek help from a medical professional. How can a person tell when stress has gotten to be too much?
Stress zaps energy
An especially stressful situation can consume all of a person’s mental energy. They are so focused on trying to fix the stressful problem that everyday challenges and decisions start to seem daunting. For example, a man who usually enjoys cooking may begin to eat out every night because the stressful situation consuming his mind makes deciding what to eat too difficult a task.
Stress can also cause a person to be too anxious to sleep. A lack of sleep has a negative impact on the entire body. It can lead to weight gain, and it will make all daily activities harder and more dangerous to perform.
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Victims of stress can find themselves in a vicious cycle. Stress that has led to fatigue makes it hard to cope with daily life because of a combination of mental and physical exhaustion. Students in this situation could start falling behind in school, and employees in this situation could start to do a poor job.
Social relationships are also harder to maintain when a person is grappling with stress-induced fatigue, and family and friends may start to pull away from a stressed person. This combination of factors leads to other problems that cause even more stress.
How to manage stress
Fortunately, stress can be managed. When stress leads to fatigue, a person is not doomed to fall into a wormhole of health problems. Theoretically, stress can be controlled by removing oneself from stressful situations, but this is not always practically possible. When there is nothing you can do to eliminate a stressful situation, the key to dealing with it is to manage the stress effectively.
Combat stress by finding time to relax. Effective methods of relaxation may vary from person to person, but acupuncture, massages, and spending time in nature have proven to be very useful stress management tools. Sometimes, the key to managing stress lies in changing the way stress is perceived.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, performed by a licensed mental health professional, can teach a person methods of coping with stress mentally. When a person learns how to think about stressful situations, the person can “talk themselves off the ledge,” so to speak, no matter how stressful the circumstance is.
Exercise is an effective stress management technique because it naturally releases dopamine into the bloodstream, and it forces the mind to focus on something else, even if for a brief period. Smiling is a physical cue of calmness and happiness. Smiling despite mentally distressing circumstances can help the brain to cope more effectively with a stressful problem.
Stressful situations are often unavoidable, but humans are not forced to deal with the mentally and physically debilitating symptoms of stress. Although stress is a normal part of life, it can be effectively managed.
A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101:
- Nature Deficit Disorder Could Be The Reason You’re So Stressed | Science 101Take a hike for your mental health.
- How To Stop Stress Acne | Living101Stress can even affect the skin.