Stress is a feeling of tension or strain related to the events and pressures of everyday life. Learn to cope and control your stress to help you function in a healthy way. Stress can be caused by many different things, including any of the following:
- Loss of a loved one or a job
- Life events, such as having a baby, buying a house, or getting a divorce
- Medical conditions, such as an acute or long-term illness or a new diagnosis
What are the signs and symptoms of too much stress?
The signs and symptoms of stress are different from person to person.
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Easily upset
- Edgy, angry, or impatient
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Feeling restless
- Sleep problems
- Trouble thinking clearly or making decisions
- Memory loss or forgetfulness
- Constant worry
- Substance abuse
- Isolation or withdrawal from others
- Decreased desire for sexual intimacy
- Feeling bitter, resentful, or impatient with others
How can I manage my stress?
Learn what causes you stress. Not all stress can be avoided. Instead, change how you cope with stress by doing any of the following:
- Learn relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, or listening to music. Take at least 30 minutes a day to do something you enjoy. This may include taking a bath or reading a book.
- Do deep breathing exercises during times of increased stress. Sit up straight and take a slow, deep breath in through your nose. Then breathe out slowly through your mouth. Take twice as long to breathe out as you do when you breathe in. Repeat this a few times until you feel calmer or more focused.
- Set realistic goals for yourself. Make a list of tasks and prioritize them. Focus on one task at a time.
- Talk to someone about things that upset you. Talk to a trusted friend, family member, or support group. Try to stop yourself when you think negative, angry, or discouraging thoughts.
Take time to exercise. Start slowly, such as walking 1 to 2 blocks each day. Stretch and relax your muscles often. Ask about the best exercise plan for you.
Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish.