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  • Sharon Chan, LMFT

Stress versus Anxiety.

Everyone experiences stress. With a healthy dose of it, in a short period of time stress can help people to perform more optimally. For example stress at a basketball game or during finals week can push us to achieve. Stress can give us that push to act, perform, and motivate us which can be beneficial for the short term task.

Chronic stress is prolonged stress for a long period of time. Chronic stress can eventually turn into an anxiety disorder. What is the difference between stress and anxiety?

(According to the Diagnostic Manuel)

Anxiety signs include:

  • Restlessness of feeling keyed up on or edge

  • Being easily fatigued

  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank

  • Irritability

  • Muscle Tension

  • Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or restless, and unsatisfying sleep.

People experiencing anxiety have difficult controlling or managing the worry and it may impact or impair their functioning on everyday tasks. For example it may be difficult to get your work done or read. It can be difficult to go into school/work because it feels very overwhelming.

Okay...... So.... Everyone has stress how do I manage my stress so it doesn't get worse? I am glad you asked:).

Here are some recommended tools to deal with stress:

  • Talking about it with someone you trust.

  • Doing activities that you like to do.

  • Reevaluating what is stressing you out and how to reorganize it.

  • Implementing boundaries.

  • Problem solving.

  • Participating in relaxation exercises.

  • Physical Activity.

  • Reframing the stressful thoughts to a more realistic and helpful thought.

If you are using all of these tools for an extended period of time and your stress still feels high and like it's taking a toll on your mental, emotional, physical or social life then it may be time to reach out for support. If you are looking at the list of recommended tools and don't know how to start or how to implement them I would attempt to use one tool at a time and reaching out for support.

I don't know about you but I wasn't really taught how to "deal with stress" or "implement tools of how to deal with stress". Everyone has to start somewhere and where you are is a good place to start.

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