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Common Causes of Stress and What You Can Do About It

Updated: 2 days ago

Experiencing stress is a normal part of life, and while it can sometimes feel overwhelming, it’s important to know you’re not alone and that there are ways to help you manage those pesky stressors. 


Worried older man with head in his hands

Keep reading to learn how Presidio Home Care Aides can help you manage stress and help improve your mental and physical well-being while minimizing the exacerbation of health-related issues.


What is stress and how does your body react to it?

From different triggers to reactions, everyone experiences stress differently. Because of this, there is no single definition for stress, but the most common explanation is a physical, mental or emotional strain or tension. According to the American Institute of Stress, stress is a reaction to a situation where a person feels anxious or threatened. 

 

Common reactions include: 


  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions

  • Headaches, back pains and/or stomach issues

  • Feeling sad, frustrated or helpless

  • Disbelief, shock and numbness

 

When you’re in a stressful situation, your body is bound to react. Your nervous system is likely to spring into action by releasing hormones that cause a “fight or flight” response. You’ll probably feel your heart rate pick up (along with your blood pressure), your breathing getting faster and tensing muscles to name a few. This kind of stress is short-term and temporary (acute stress), where the body can recover quickly from it. 

 

However, prolonged exposure to stress, also known as chronic stress, can lead to serious health problems. The constant rush of stress hormones puts quite a bit of wear and tear on the body — causing it to age faster and making it more prone to illness. 

 

Some examples include: 


  • Depression

  • High blood pressure

  • Abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia)

  • Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)

  • Heart disease

  • Heart attack

  • Heartburn, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome

  • Weight gain or loss

  • Flare-ups of asthma or arthritis

  • Skin problems such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis


Common Stressors

What causes you stress may not affect another individual in the same way. With that in mind, some common stressors might include: 


  • Illness or injury

  • Difficult relationships with a partner, siblings, friends or children

  • Lack of mobility

  • Feeling isolated, lonely

  • Financial issues

  • Everyday tasks such as household chores, getting to appointments, etc.

  • Organizing an event

  • Special days like holidays, birthdays, anniversaries


How to Cope

Although coping with stress is easier said than done, we have a few methods we’d like to suggest to not only help you relieve stress but also build resilience. So the next time you experience stress — acute or otherwise — here are some ways to take action and bring your nervous system back into balance. 


  • Deep breathing. Studies have shown that slow, deep breathing (known as diaphragmatic breathing) exercises may modestly lower blood pressure and reduce levels of cortisol, a main stress hormone in the body. There’s also evidence that diaphragmatic breathing reduces the concentration of glucose or sugar in the blood (glycemia) in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

  • Recognize what’s in your control. While simple, it can be the most difficult to do. Take inventory of the factors that remain in your control. And for those things that you don’t have control over? Let them go. This helps prevent getting overly anxious about situations that you cannot change. 

  • Get moving. Regular exercise can help lift your mood. Physical activity provides a distraction from your worries, and breaks the cycle of negative thinking that feeds stress. The foods you eat have the ability to improve or worsen your mood. Eating healthier foods provides the kind of energy to get you moving and feeling your physical best. 

  • Connect with others. Whether it’s your neighbor, friend, colleague or a professional, talking to someone about what you’re going through can soothe your nervous system and help alleviate the burden you’re carrying. 

  • Take breaks and don’t forget to get some rest. Go for a walk, talk to a friend, work on a puzzle, listen to music. Sometimes we all just need a mental break from the stressful event. Additionally, although chronic stress can disrupt sleep, feeling tired can increase stress by causing you to think irrationally. Getting sufficient rest is necessary to feel balanced — physically and emotionally. 

 


Stress and Presidio Home Care Aides

We know life can be stressful sometimes. Although it’s a natural part of life, finding ways to cope can be daunting. Whether it’s providing companionship, medication reminders or driving to appointments, our Presidio Home Care Aides are here to help eliminate and alleviate everyday stressors so you and your loved one can focus on what matters most. 

Contact your local office today to learn more.

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