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Understanding stress and how to manage it

Stress is a common emotion that can be felt by a range of people regardless of age. Often stress stems from too much pressure being put on us by others — or in some cases by ourselves. Stress can range from Mild-Tolerable-Significant-Toxic. Their stress level is based on the individual because every person has their scale of what is tolerable vs what is toxic.

People also react to stress differently. Understanding stress and stress reactions will not only benefit you by creating an understanding that will help you improve your relationship with others, but it will also help you understand your own emotions. Understanding signs that may be stress, gives you more capability to look at it objectively and figure what’s causing it and what to do in the next steps.

Ways to Cope with Stress

Take a break: This may seem like you are isolating but set a scheduled time for that break to end if you feel like you are at risk for falling into isolation. A break is something we all need to collect ourselves and our thoughts. When you do this I want you to be honest to yourself about what’s bothering you, what do you have control of in that situation, and what you can realistically do. People sometimes overextend themselves because they always feel like they could be doing more when some things are just out of their hands.

Take care of yourself: This means to ensure even the most basic of your needs are being taken care of. Make sure to eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of sleep, and give yourself a break if you feel stressed out.

Build a support system: Find people to share your problems with and how you are feeling. This can be with a significant other, parent, friend, counselor, doctor, or pastor. However, just note that a support system is a mutual thing, and if you need to set boundaries because you are unable to handle certain topics, make sure that is a conversation beforehand.

Avoid drugs and alcohol if there’s a high chance of substance abuse: These may seem to help you at the time, but they can create additional problems in the future, and a person becomes reliant or even addicted. Just be cautious of your consumption.

Recognize when you need more help: If problems continue and you are at risk of harmful behavior (i.e you are thinking about suicide) talk to a psychologist, social worker, or professional counselor.

Take time to understand your stress reactions

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