How many times have you yourself or someone else around you uttered the words “I’m stressed”?
This seems to be a fairly common way of expressing how we feel during times when we are experiencing more than the usual number of responsibilities, duties, options, and especially when these things fall in the context of a limited amount of time.
There are many people who experience stress at work, at home, with parenting duties, caretaker duties, within relationships, and deadlines, to name a few. Surprisingly, research has found that having too many options, titled “choice overload,” is one of the more stressful experiences a person can have. While objectively having options is typically a positive and wonderful thing, competing options can lead to incredible feelings of stress and can even be debilitating.
Stress is not only emotionally overwhelming and at times debilitating, but organizational and health research has shown that businesses lose an enormous amount of revenue each year due to employee stress-related illnesses. Specifically, the National Institute of Stress found that United States businesses lose more than $300 billion a year due to stress-related “absenteeism, turnover, diminished productivity and medical, legal and insurance costs.” This alarming rate should serve as a wake-up call – to employers and workers, alike. Studies have also shown that in most cases, people report that their job and work duties are what creates the most stress in their life.
What is Stress?
Stress is defined as a mental or emotional state of tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.
Don’t Let Stress Linger Too Long
Stress is essentially a slow burn.
There may be times where you are stressed and don’t even realize it. Typically, by the time that stress accumulates enough to take a physical or psychological toll on your life, it has been building for quite a while and it’s cumulative effect has been strengthening.
Stress related physical illnesses do not occur out of nowhere but rather have been developing and have gone unattended and untreated. Stress can impact the musculoskeletal system, respiratory system and cardiovascular system. Stress is usually a factor in emotional difficulties and can exacerbate psychological symptoms.
Emotionally, stress can lead to anxiety, depression, phobias, panic attacks and panic disorder, irritability, anger, reduced motivation, fatigue, etc. Stress impacts the whole person and is strongly linked to many mental health concerns. Also, perhaps unsurprisingly, stress can lead to problems in your relationships, particularly for those who have trouble managing work spillover – the term describing when problems at work quite literally spill over into your personal and your relationships.
Research by the Benson-Harry Institute has found that at least 60% of doctors visits each year are stress-related. Many physical ailments and complications can arise from stress and in most cases, physical health conditions are at least impacted and connected to stress. Some examples include stroke, heart attack, hypertension, immune system disturbances, headaches, body aches and pains, stuttering, teeth grinding, gastrointestinal problems, etc. The list really goes on and on.
Things You Can to Feel Less Stressed
- Deep breathing: One of the simplest, most portable, strategies is to focus on your breath and slowing it down. Not only can this serve to physically release energy and clear your mind, it can allow you to take a few minutes to stop and slow down.
- Engage your coping skills: Read a book, listen to music, journal
- Take a break: Even though this may seem counter to being productive, sometimes we all just need a break. Breaks can help to clear your mind, prioritize your day/schedule/activities, and re-energize you to keep going. Breaks can range anywhere from minutes to days (or hey, even weeks!).
- Get a massage: Probably one of the more relaxing ways to de-stress is getting a massage. And, it also serves as a break.
- Exercise: The benefits of exercise are multifarious. One such benefit is helping a person to feel better, both physically and mentally. To relieve stress, exercise is one of the best things you can implement into your life.
- Practice mindfulness or meditation: Both of these practices will help you to clear your mind, feel less stress, be more focused, and be more reasonable about what needs to actually have your attention and focus.
- Set realistic deadlines: This may sound obvious, but sometimes we overwhelm ourselves with tasks that we don’t need to address right away. Make sure you are setting deadlines that reflect when things really need to get done. This can greatly help with managing the load, and with the order of how to do things.
- Delegate work or tasks, when possible, to others: If you can’t do it all, and no- you cannot do it all, seek the assistance of others.
- Get organized: Make lists, keep a calendar, set alerts in your phone. These are all strategies that can help you to stay on track while alleviating the need for you to keep all your to-do items organized in your head.
- Seek professional help from a licensed mental health professional, such as Tampa Therapy.
We Can Help
The team at Tampa Therapy is here to help you work through difficult, trying, challenging, and STRESSFUL problems. We specialize in working with trauma, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and couples therapy, and would like to assist you on your journey to growth and healing. If you are struggling, give us a call. At Tampa Therapy, we are committed to providing a relaxing, healing, and non-judgmental environment to support you on your journey to living a stress-reduced life. If you want things to be different, you have to change them. Give us a call or email us today to start the process of making important changes in your life.