We’ve all felt stress at many points in our lives. For many it is dismissed as simply a part of our existence, but when it becomes too much it can help to aggravate feelings of anxiety and diminish our well being. When that happens, the stress that a person is feeling needs to be dealt with effectively, either through home remedies, or possibly with the help of professional care. In either case, the first step is to recognize some of the common causes of stress. That way, if treatment becomes necessary, you can more easily chose the correct one.
Causes of Stress
Unfortunately the specific causes of stress can vary widely from person to person and situation to situation. For example, some medications, or recreational drugs have side effects that include anxiety. Other causes of stress include a demanding workload, underlying health problems, and even relationships. Whatever the causes, they certainly need to be addressed for any treatment option to work effectively.
Perhaps the most effective first step in discovering the causes of your stress and anxiety is to take a personal inventory. Start by sitting down and taking a deep breath. Then ask yourself a series of questions, and be prepared to give honest and complete answers.
- What is constantly on your mind?
- What worries you the most right now?
- Does something in particular make you sad or have feelings of depression?
- How is your workload? Has it become too much?
Ask yourself these questions, and also try to keep a diary or a journal of thoughts or actions that seem to be associated with your anxiety or increase in stress levels. While these exercises may seem pointless at the time, soon, you’ll begin to see a pattern. Soon you’ll be able to link the triggers of your increased stress with various thoughts, actions or situations. By knowing the root causes of your stress and anxiety, you’ll be able to better treat them.
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to help alleviate stress is to talk with someone. Often have a good conversation with a friend or a loved one is all that is needed to relieve anxiety and help put your world into perspective.
In addition, there are a number of different ways to cope with the stress you experience in your life. For starters, take a look at your diet. Eating a well-balanced diet can help to maintain your blood pressure, reduce your cholesterol, and help to alleviate feelings of indigestion, which is a common symptom of too much stress. Also, consider trying to get more rest. In today’s world, very few of us get the sleep that we need on a regular basis. The normal adult needs somewhere between seven and ten hours of sleep a night to function well. How much are you getting? Also, try to eliminate or at least limit your consumption of alcohol, nicotine, or other recreational drugs. Often these substances will cause more harm than good, especially if you are under a high stress situation.
Finally, consider learning how to meditate or perform relaxing breathing exercises. You would be surprised how much you’ll relax once you start to meditate on a regular basis.
When to Call the Doctor
Of course, there might be situations where all these home methods are simply not as effective as you wish them to be. Sometimes in order to deal with the underlying causes of stress, you might need to call in professional health. There is absolutely no shame in doing so; millions of people a year ask for help with wonderful results. The stigma of asking for help in regards to your mental and physical health is lifting rapidly, and with good reason.
Often, making the choice to talk to your doctor isn’t so much about the symptoms of stress, but rather how they are affecting your life. If your levels of stress and anxiety have become so overwhelming that you can no longer function at the same level you were before, a call to your doctor is in order. Another reason to call your health professional is when you cannot pinpoint the cause or source of your feelings, or if you have a sudden, uncontrollable feeling of panic. Together the two of you should be able to plan a method of dealing with your stress and anxiety. Be sure to discuss any medications you are already taking, including over the counter ones. There are a number of anti-anxiety medications that will often interact with other medicines – so knowing what’s in your medicine chest is extremely important.
Once you are at your doctor’s office, you can expect a review of your medical history, a physical examination, as well as a detailed conversation with your doctor concerning your life in general, as well as the symptoms that you are experiencing. This is done not to waste time, but rather so that other medical causes for your symptoms can be ruled out. Once this is accomplished, your doctor will determine if you do need to see a mental health professional and can often offer a recommendation.
The causes of stress and anxiety can certainly vary from person to person, and treatment options can very just as widely. Finding the most effective ways to treat your stress and anxiety can be a long process, and often a combination of different ideas will work the best.