**Stress and Anxiety
-Most people experience stress and anxiety from time to time.
-Stress is any demand placed on your brain or physical body.
-People can report feeling stressed when multiple competing demands are placed on them.
-The feeling of being stressed can be triggered by an event that makes you feel frustrated or nervous.
-There’s a fine line between stress and anxiety.
-Both are emotional responses, but stress is typically caused by an external trigger.
-The trigger can be short-term, such as a work deadline or a fight with a loved one or long-term, such as being unable to work, discrimination, or chronic illness.
-People under stress experience mental and physical symptoms, such as irritability, anger, fatigue, muscle pain, digestive troubles, and difficulty sleeping.
-Anxiety, on the other hand, is defined by persistent, excessive worries that don’t go away even in the absence of a stressor.
-Anxiety leads to a nearly identical set of symptoms as stress: insomnia, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, muscle tension, and irritability.
-Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, or unease.
-It can be a reaction to stress, or it can occur in people who are unable to identify significant stressors in their life.
-Stress and anxiety are not always bad. In the short term, they can help you overcome a challenge or dangerous situation.
-Examples of everyday stress and anxiety include worrying about finding a job, feeling nervous before a big test, or being embarrassed in certain social situations.
-If we did not experience some anxiety we might not be motivated to do things that we need to do (for instance, studying for that big test!).
-However, if stress and anxiety begin interfering with your daily life, it may indicate a more serious issue.
-If you are avoiding situations due to irrational fears, constantly worrying, or experiencing severe anxiety about a traumatic event weeks after it happened, it may be time to seek help.
**Types of Stress
-Acute Stress: Short-term stress that often accompanies fleeting moments of panic or dread. Examples include realizing you’ve missed a deadline for work or school, or nearly being involved in a car accident.
-Episodic Acute Stress: An accumulation of individual moments of acute stress. People who feel burdened by day-to-day struggles may attempt to alleviate their frustrations through unhealthy behaviours like overeating or binge drinking.
-Chronic Stress: Many factors can contribute to chronic stress, including poverty, abuse, and trauma. People tend to internalize these painful experiences, and over time this can wear down the mind and lead to feelings of hopelessness.
**The Relaxation Response
-The relaxation response is the rest and digest part of the nervous system.
-It basically undoes the work of the stress response after a stressful situation.
-The relaxation response happens when we feel safe, nurtured or taken care of.
-It can block effects from your body’s response to stress.
-This is good for your mental and physical health.
**Effective Relaxation Techniques
-The most effective relaxation technique is one that works for you!
-Different relaxation techniques will help different people at different times.
-What works for you this week, may not work next week.
-But it might work again next month.
-Our needs vary and so it’s important to have a toolbox of relaxation techniques to help you on a regular basis.