The task of learning how to control stress is lifelong. By getting control over your stress, you won’t only improve your health, but also increase your ability to succeed.
WHEN TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP FOR STRESS
A lot of physical and emotional illness can be the result of stress and should be professionally treated. Numerous symptoms of stress are usually mild and can be managed with over-the-counter medications, discuss these symptoms and treatment with your healthcare professional:
- Aspirin/Ibuprofen for tension headaches
- Antacids/Anti-diarrhoea medications or laxatives for mild stomach discomfort.
You should also speak to a healthcare professional about physical symptoms that get worse or that keep you awake at night. A mental health professional should be consulted for unmanageable acute stress or for severe anxiety or depression. Usually, short-term therapy resolves stress-related emotional problems.
There are also assessment tools available online to help identify details of stress such as difficulty relaxing, being agitated/irritable and determine whether depression and/or anxiety is also present.
I decided to take this online test for research purposes and got the following results:
Oh boy… guess I have to start reading my own blogs 🙂
To find out what your scores are, click on the hyperlink below:
NB: These online tests should not be used to self-diagnose.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR CHOOSING A STRESS-REDUCTION STRATEGY
Several factors should be considered upon choosing specific strategies for treating stress:
- Usually a single method is not ideal, and a series of approaches should be considered.
- A method that worked for someone else won’t necessarily work for you.
- Bear in mind that stress can be both positive and negative. Appropriate and controllable stress invokes interest and excitement, and could also motivate a person to greater achievement. A lack of stress may lead to boredom.
As discussed in previous blog posts, stress may also make people vulnerable to illness. Consult a healthcare professional or psychologist if you experience any other medical or psychological conditions such as heart symptoms, significant pain, anxiety or depression.
OVERCOMING OBSTACLES TO TREATMENT
Most people succeed in relieving acute stress. However, once they feel better, they often go back to previous stressful thoughts and behaviours because of outside pressure or old habits. The following are obstacles to managing stress:
- Many people perceive relaxation as threatening because you ‘have to let your guard down’.
- People are afraid of being perceived as selfish if they engage in stress-reducing activities that benefit only themselves.
- Some people believe that certain emotional responses to stress, such as anger, are natural and unchangeable features of their personality. Research has shown that with cognitive behavioural therapy, individuals can be taught to change their emotional reactions to stressful events.
By reducing stress and staying relaxed, your mind will clear in order for it to begin the appropriate actions to get rid of stress-related conditions.
Don’t forget to read next week as I will be discussing lifestyle changes as an essential part of any stress-reduction program.
Until next week,
All information in this blog was researched for this blog, and is not intended for self-diagnosis or to be used as medical advice. All medical questions should be directed to a healthcare professional such as a doctor or pharmacist.
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