Stress (i.e., the perceived demands placed on us at any given moment) is a very common yet subjective experience for everyone. Stress may result from life transitions (losing a job or a promotion, moving to a new city, separation or divorce from a spouse), family and work responsibilities, or exposure to traumatic events. People respond to and cope with stress in very different ways. Some coping strategies are healthier than others. However, when stress accumulates over time, becomes chronic and coping resources become ineffective, you may experience a toll on your psychological and physical health.
Anxiety and anxiety-related disorders are common outcomes of excessive and poorly managed stress. Anxiety may affect you in a variety of ways and include psychological, physiological, and behavioral reactions. For example:
- Do you experience frequent and intense worries about something bad happening to you or your loved ones? Do you find it hard to get these worries out of your mind?
- Do you often get anxious when in social situations? Worried you will say or do something that will be embarrassing or lead to rejection or failure?
- Do you experience feelings of nervousness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, muscle tension, sweating, and difficulty sleeping?
- Do you avoid a variety of situations (e.g., social situations; taking the bus/riding on the subway; or giving a speech) that you see as threatening or fearful, although objectively there is no real threat?
If you suffer from stress and anxiety, treatment can help and typically entails a mixture of psychotherapy, mindfulness strategies, exercise, and yoga.
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