Updated: Aug 26, 2022
Stress indeed has become a part of our modern-day existence. It's also true that most people experience some stress concerning their work or personal life. In small amounts, stress and worrying are natural. If stress results in anxious thoughts from which you cannot switch, it can become a draining and exhausting experience. We go through myriad experiences in our life. And it's natural to have a reaction to the life experiences we undergo. Just as we experience joy or pride when we achieve something, worrying/stress is also an emotion one experiences when something big is at stake. When stress is ongoing, and all your attempts to manage it have come up short, it becomes a serious problem.
But what is so problematic about stress? Well, stress is the body's natural response to danger or anything perceived as disruptive or threatening. At times stress can be healthy as it allows us to interpret our environment and adapt to it through means that are positive. However, when chronic stress is experienced through myriad emotions of continuous fear, tension, anxiety, and feelings of pressure and strain, it can have a debilitating effect on our daily lives.
What's more, stress-related disorders are a result of anxiety-related issues that are caused due to mental, emotional and or physical health problems. Some well-known stress-related disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The four common symptoms of stress-related disorders are as follows:
1. Intrusion symptoms: Within this category, a person can experience painful memories, nightmares, and thoughts in a recurring manner. These are connected to a traumatic event -dissociative experiences, flashbacks and feelings of recurring events.
2. Avoidance symptoms: As the name might suggest, within this category, a person's primary goal is to avoid somehow any triggers or activities that may result in an experience that they describe as traumatic. Avoidance symptom is when a person takes mental or physical actions to avoid or prevent external or internal stressors understood as painful.
3. Changes in thoughts and feelings: It is not uncommon for a person to experience depression, feelings of shame, fear and wanting to isolate from friends and family. When one experiences stress, thoughts and feelings can begin to shift into being uncomfortable and negative most of the time.
4. Hyper-arousal: This category's physical manifestation may involve violent outbursts, hyperactivity, and self-harm. Moreover, it also impacts a person's ability to focus, leading to insomnia.
Stress leading to emotions like acute anxiety, fear and restlessness can undoubtedly leave you feeling overwhelmed and out of control. However, knowing that you are not alone and help is available is beneficial. It would help if you considered seeking a professional psychologist when you cannot function at your natural pace, whether at home or work, despite your best efforts. If you are increasingly experiencing common symptoms related to stress like exhaustion, numbness, constantly questioning your self-efficacy or feeling disconnected from loved ones, it's beneficial to seek help. Each person's experience and struggle with stress are different. What's important is to remember that there is no right or wrong time to seek help for anxiety and worry.
If you're looking for counselling in Sherwood Park, Ward & Associates Psychological Services is here for you. We specialize in individual counselling for adults, teens, and children and couples counselling and trauma counselling for first responders. We also offer online therapy for clients residing in Alberta. Contact us to learn more about our services or to book an appointment.