How Much Stress Is Too Much?
Everyone experiences stress. Whether you are a caregiver balancing the care of a loved one and caring for your own family or a healthcare professional dealing with both the medical needs of your patients and your personal needs, CareOne at Madison Avenue Administrator Kristin Compton provides successful strategies to help you take control of your stress and learn how to manage it.
Identifying your body’s response to stress:
Typical responses to stress include shallow breathing, tense muscles and an increase in heart rate. When you start feeling these symptoms, you are likely under stress. But remember, not all stress is bad. For example, it’s good to feel stress when you are in an emergency situation as it increases your ability to focus and respond quickly. Many people perform better under stress. You can’t realistically avoid stress. The key is to make sure you are not enduring prolonged stress.
Why are you stressed?
There are many things that cause stress in your life and as you think about these stressors, your stress level increases. Typical causes of stress include:
Due to technological advances, you are always connected – cell phones, iPads, computers, social media – which limits your free time, causes lack of sleep and impacts your ability to develop supportive relationships and friendships. All of these things ultimately increase your stress.
The Stress Epidemic
Stress is extremely prevalent in today’s society.
- 43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects caused by stress.
- 75% – 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
- Stress is becoming the biggest reason for disability claims in the workplace, costing the American economy $300 billion annually and reducing industry profits by 10%.
- Stress accounts for 50% of deaths in the U.S. for those under the age of 65.
Illnesses related to stress include:
- Compromised immune system
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Skin conditions
How do you know when your stress levels are too high?
It’s extremely important to recognize when your stress levels have severely increased in order to decrease the pressure in your life and prevent burn out. Signs of increased stress levels include:
- Feeling like every day is a bad day
- Caring seems like a waste of your time
- Constant exhaustion no matter how much sleep you get
- Feeling helpless and depressed
There will always be stress in your life, but if you can learn to control your response to stress, you can manage it better and prevent yourself from burning out. The following techniques are excellent strategies to help keep your stress under control:
- Positive self-talk and affirmations
- Daily relaxation
- Emergency stress stoppers to quickly take your mind off of the stress – taking deep breaths, aromatherapy, apps like Happify