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Do you feel overwhelmed with responsibilities at work, family commitments, financial responsibilities, or life in general? Perhaps you are suffering from Stress - and you are not alone! According to Statistics Canada, 73% of all working adults aged 20-64 report at least some level of stress and 23% of people over the age of 15 report that most days are "quite a bit" or "extremely" stressful. (1)
While not all stress is bad, it is among our greatest health threats. It's been linked to complications like high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. (2)
Stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings and your behaviour. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can help you manage them. Some common symptoms of stress include:
Physical - headaches, sleep problems, fatigue, stomach upset, muscle tension or pain, change in sex drive
Thoughts and Feelings - anxiety, restlessness, irritability or anger, sadness or depression, lack of motivation
Behaviour - overeating or under eating, drug or alcohol abuse, social withdrawal, angry outbursts (3)
The good news is that there are many things we can do to manage our stress. It is important to explore active ways to manage your stress. Although watching TV, surfing the internet or playing video games may seem relaxing at the time, they may ultimately increase your stress over the long term.
If you are dealing with stress, consider exploring some of the following active stress management strategies:
Regular physical activity
Socializing with family and friends
Relaxation techniques such as meditation, visualization, or deep breathing
Setting aside time for hobbies
Getting enough rest and sleep
If you feel unable to manage your stress, consider meeting with your family doctor to discuss your concerns or seeking treatment from a trained mental health professional.
Article Submitted by Jessica Gibbon, BHC at South Shore Medical Clinic
1. What's Stressing the Stressed? ( https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-008-x/2011002/article/11562-eng.htm )
2. Stress Management, Mayo Clinic ( www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987 )
3. Hunter, Goodie, Oordt, Dobneyer, Integrated Behavioural Health in Primary Care, 2009