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How much Stress is Too Much Stress?

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Stress is something we all deal with, at any age. Even cats and dogs can get stressed out!

We all get pretty frazzled by stress from time to time, but being chronically  stressed out takes a toll on the body, physically and emotionally.

Physically, too much stress can cause headache/migraines, stomach issues, trouble staying/falling asleep, chest pain, acne,  fainting, and reproductive issues.

Emotionally, stress can cause anxiety, angry outbursts, depression, irritability, feeling overwhelmed, social withdrawal, lack of motivation, trouble concentrating,and over or under eating. Being overly stressed can also cause excessive tobacco, drug, and alcohol use. Studies have shown that people suffering from depression and extreme stress are 48 percent more likely to die from a heart attack than those who aren’t chronically stressed and depressed. Stress truly can kill.

But what is causing people to be so stressed? According to the American Psychological Association, the biggest stress sources for American adults are money issues, job stability, family responsibilities, and their personal relationships.

Teens, however, are most stressed about school, fitting in, and their future, and factors in their lives that they cannot control. Stress in teens manifests the same way emotionally and physically as it does in adults. 50 percent of teens have reported that they are under “extreme stress”. Stress in children, however, manifests in clinginess to parent, outbursts of crying, and bedwetting. Children get stressed over social issues such as fitting in, and if they see that their parents are under a lot of stress, they can become stressed also. People also develop unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress, such as not exercising, binge eating and drinking, smoking, drug use, and isolating themselves from the world.

Luckily, 74 percent of Americans reported that they have a good support system to deal with stress. Some healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress are talking about it with loved ones, meditating, listening to music,  napping, taking a bath, taking a brisk walk, petting an animal, journaling, and using creative outlets such as drawing. If the stress is becoming too overwhelming, you can try talk therapy, which is extremely effective for managing stress and other issues.

Having day-to-day stress is normal, but when it starts to interfere with your life, it isn’t normal anymore. There is no shame in asking for help, and doing things that help you cope with stress in a healthy way. We all want to live long, happy and healthy lives, and we can’t do that if we are chronically stressed. It is okay to ask for help.

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