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Managing Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is more than just a busy or hectic lifestyle. People who experience chronic stress have ongoing feelings of worry, anxiety, and tension that may last for weeks or even months. When left unmanaged, chronic stress can be a contributing factor in physical and mental health issues like heart disease, anxiety, and depression. While stress is a normal part of life, it’s important to learn how to manage and cope with chronic stress to keep it from taking a toll on your overall well-being.

Columbia Associates offers anxiety services that can help clients find ways to manage chronic stress. Call 703.682.8208 to find a Columbia Associates location near you and schedule an appointment.

Understanding Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is different from acute stress, which is a normal reaction to a short-term challenge or situation. Acute stress usually goes away once the stressful event has passed, while chronic stress can persist for extended periods of time.

Chronic stress can be caused by a variety of factors, such as work-related pressures, financial worries, relationship issues, and health problems. It can also be a result of multiple stressors piling up over time. Being in a constant state of stress can lead to physical symptoms like headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. Mentally, chronic stress can manifest as feelings of anxiety, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.

It’s often not possible to completely eliminate sources of stress from your life. However, understanding the root causes of your chronic stress can help you find ways to manage and cope with it more effectively. Even small changes and coping strategies can make a difference in reducing the negative impact of chronic stress.

Coping with Chronic Stress

One of the first steps in managing chronic stress is recognizing the signs and symptoms. Once you are aware of your triggers and physical and mental reactions to stress, you can start implementing coping mechanisms. Here are some strategies that may help:

  • Talk with a therapist – It’s easy to question or minimize the impact of chronic stress, but a therapist can provide an unbiased perspective and help you understand the root causes of your stress.
  • Practice relaxation techniques – Deep breathing, meditation, and yoga are all effective ways to calm the mind and reduce feelings of tension in the body.
  • Get regular exercise – Physical activity can help release built-up tension and improve overall mood. Find an exercise routine that works for you and stick with it.
  • Prioritize self-care – Make time for activities that bring you joy and help you relax, such as reading, listening to music, or spending time in nature.
  • Set boundaries – Learn to say no to unnecessary commitments and prioritize your well-being. It’s okay to put yourself first and avoid taking on more than you can handle. While not every stressor can be eliminated, setting boundaries might help reduce the overall burden.

Medication, such as anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication, may also be recommended by a therapist or healthcare provider to help manage chronic stress. However, the best approach to managing chronic stress is always personalized—working with a therapist can help you find the most effective strategies for your unique situation.

Contact the Columbia Associates Team Today

Chronic stress can make it easy to put off seeking help—treatment can feel like just another thing to add to your already overflowing plate. However, getting help could be the key to reducing your stress levels and improving your overall well-being, and Columbia Associates is here to support you on your journey.

For new clients, please click here to schedule an appointment. For existing clients, please click here and find your office location to contact your office directly.