Stress is a form of communication between outside, environmental factors and our bodies. When we sense threat or danger, our bodies manifest that fear into stress. Typically, when we hear the word “stress”, we associate it with a negative connotation. Not all stress is bad. Stress is a natural form of survival and is our defense and protection against unwanted, unknown, or potentially dangerous circumstances. For example, some experience stress during positive and joyful life transitions. Moving, graduating, and pregnancy are typical life events that people celebrate. However, they all induce some level of stress within us. Short-term stress can be beneficial and utilized as a motivating factor. It can help us prioritize what is important to us and inspire us to achieve the steps necessary towards attaining or bettering that priority.

Long-term stress can have harmful effects on the mind and body. In addition to occupying space in the mind, stress can manifest into physical symptoms of pain and discomfort. From increased blood pressure and muscle tightness to sleep deprivation and rapid breathing, long-term stress can take a serious toll on the body. No part of the body is immune to being affected by stress. Emotional symptoms range from increased agitation and moodiness to trouble sleeping and heightened avoidance of others. It is imperative to pay close attention to these symptoms, as they are known to affect one’s quality of life.

―Stress is the trash of modern life—we all generate it but if you don't dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life.

Danzae Pace

In addition to short-term and long-term stress there are 3 major types of stress: acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic stress.

Acute stress:
Acute stress is short-term and is the most common form of stress. It manifests in tension headaches and digestive discomfort and is usually caused by an accumulation of pressure from past, present, or even future events.

Episodic stress:
Episodic acute stress occurs in people who experience acute stress frequently. People with disorganized patterns of life, overwhelming schedules, and poor life balance tend to exhibit symptoms of episodic acute stress. Episodic acute stress can lead to high blood pressure and even heart disease if not managed appropriately.

Chronic stress:
Chronic stress is long-term and the most detrimental type of stress. Unemployment, substance abuse, legal troubles, and family dysfunction are all key factors that can cause chronic stress. Because there is no quick fix to factors causing chronic stress, most people do not realize they are experiencing chronic stress. They are not as likely to recognize the chronic stress because it has become or remained a part of their daily lives. People desensitize to what they have grown accustomed to. Chronic stress can lead to suicide, acts of violent, strokes, and heart attacks.

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Common triggers that affect stress level are as follows: relationships, illness, financial instability, child-rearing, legal troubles, life crises, etc. Although all of the mentioned triggers tend to cause some level of stress in everyone, some are predisposed to higher levels of stress for one trigger over the other. For example, someone who has experienced death and loss in their life will probably not experience stress in the same level that someone who has never experienced a death will. Similarly, a first-time mother is more likely to experience stress over child-rearing and birth than is a mother with several children. Where there is experience, peace is not too far behind.

Stress management is crucial in living and leading a life with joy and peace. By identifying the specific stressors in your life, you can begin to take back control and start living again. One way of identifying stressors is to take a look at your habits and attitudes, then write the stressors down in a journal. In writing the stressor, you can take a closer look at what triggered the stress, your initial emotional response, the ways you reacted verbally and non-verbally, and the manner in which you self-soothed afterwards.

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If you have an awareness that too much noise is a trigger for you, quiet your space. Take a moment outside of the busy office space to practice deep breathing or turn off your TV and radio if you are home. Decide to express your emotions rather than covering them up. Do what you can to give yourself the release you need. Voice that your time is precious and valuable and only allot a few minutes for others to infiltrate your safe and protected space.

Accessing help:
Before the situation gets worse everyone should get immediate help. Depending on the severity of the condition people should find a way to deal with it. It is not too late yet. The psychotherapist would engage you in talk therapy and help you restore a sense of harmony and mental stability. And the address of getting help from any professional is Seeking Shalom. Seeking Shalom has trained and experienced therapists. Seeking Shalom works with children, adolescents and adults. It offers you two contexts to help you If you are having trouble communicating with others and would like someone to walk beside you through this difficult time, Seeking Shalom welcomes you. As trained and empathetic professionals, we share the desire to be your stepping stone to better living. You can engage in weekly individual/family therapy or in a twelve week group setting where you get to interact with persons like yourself and together learn helpful strategies and techniques to deal with the problem. To pursue any of these options you can contact us via telephone at 212-655-9605. We would be happy to help you on this journey to healthier living. We thank you for your courage in taking the first step towards letting go of what was and inching towards what could be.

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