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Recognizing and Coping with Stress

Do you know how much stress you're under?

Here are the answers (and videos) to frequently asked questions about stress.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is stress?

Stress is a physical and psychological response to a perceived threat or challenge. It is a natural and normal part of life, and some degree of stress can be beneficial in motivating us to take action and meet our goals. However, when stress becomes chronic or overwhelming, it can have serious negative consequences for our health and well-being.

What are the Causes of Stress?

Stress can be caused by a wide variety of factors, including work, relationships, financial pressures, health problems, and major life changes. Some people may be more susceptible to stress due to personality traits, such as perfectionism or a tendency toward anxiety.

What are Common Physical Symptoms of Stress?

Stress can manifest in a variety of physical symptoms, including:

1. Headaches

Stress can cause tension headaches, which are characterized by a dull, aching pain that can radiate from the forehead to the neck.

2. Muscle tension and pain

Stress can cause muscle tension and pain, particularly in the neck, shoulders, and back. This can lead to stiffness and limited range of motion.

3. Digestive issues

Stress can cause digestive issues such as stomach pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.

4. Fatigue

Stress can cause feelings of exhaustion and fatigue, even after a full night's sleep.

What are Common Emotional Symptoms of Stress?

Stress can also have a significant impact on our emotional well-being, leading to symptoms such as:

1. Anxiety and worry

Stress can cause feelings of anxiety and worry, particularly about the future or things that are out of our control.

2. Irritability and mood swings

Stress can make us feel more irritable and short-tempered than usual, and can cause sudden changes in mood.

3. Depression

Chronic or overwhelming stress can lead to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and depression.

What are Common Behavioral Symptoms of Stress?

Stress can also affect our behavior and daily habits, leading to changes such as:


1. Changes in appetite and sleep patterns

Stress can cause us to overeat or lose our appetite, and can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night.

2. Substance use and abuse

Stress can cause us to turn to alcohol or drugs to relieve stress. But these can easily go from temporary relief to chronic problem.

3. Social withdrawal and isolation

Stress can make us feel more withdrawn and less interested in socializing with others, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

What are Long-term Effects of Chronic Stress?

Chronic stress can have serious negative consequences for our physical and mental health over time. Prolonged exposure to stress hormones can weaken the immune system, increase the risk of heart disease, and contribute to the development of chronic conditions such as anxiety and depression.

What are Coping Strategies for Managing Stress?

Fortunately, there are many strategies that can be effective in managing stress and reducing its negative impact on our health and well-being. Some strategies to consider include:

1. Lifestyle changes

Making healthy lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep can help reduce the impact of stress on the body.

2. Relaxation techniques

Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

3. Support systems

Having a support system of friends, family, or mental health professionals can be helpful in managing stress and providing a sense of emotional support.

4. Professional help

If you are struggling with chronic or overwhelming stress, seeking professional help from a mental health professional can be a beneficial step in managing your symptoms and improving your quality of life.


Stress is a common human experience that can have serious negative consequences for our physical and mental health if left unchecked. By recognizing the symptoms of stress and implementing healthy coping strategies, we can effectively manage stress and reduce its impact on our daily lives.


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