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Should I See a Therapist for Stress?

If you feel stressed most of the time, you’re not alone. A 2019 Gallup poll of adults around the world found that 55 percent of Americans experience stress during “a lot” of each day. This number is 20 percent more than the global average.

If you experience stress regularly, it’s important to learn exactly what this feeling is and how it can affect your body. You can also learn effective ways to manage your stress at home. Finally, learn how therapists can help you manage stress, even if you do not live with any mental illnesses.

What is Stress?

Even people who specialize in treating stress find it difficult to define this term. Technically, it means the reaction a body has to any stimulus that it deems requires immediate reaction. However, this definition is vague and does not encompass all the ways people talk about stress today.

While stress is physical in nature, it is also an emotional and mental phenomenon. If you’ve ever had a stressful period in life, you know that it can make you feel physically, emotionally, and mentally tired. Furthermore, people can experience stress in response to positive stimuli. For example, riding a rollercoaster can be a thrilling experience, but you white knuckles and racing heart suggest it’s also stressful.

What Stress Does to the Body

Although stress has emotional and mental components, it is a physical reaction at its core. As such, it can have short and long-term effects on the human body.

In an acute bout of stress, you may notice that you clench your jaw, your muscles tighten, and your heart races. Internally, your body responds with an increase in stress hormones, including cortisol. For a short while, this response can actually help you get out of dangerous situations. However, chronic stress starts to take a toll on the body.

If you experience acute stress several times throughout the day or never seem to come down from this heightened mode, you can put yourself at risk for several health complications, including:

  • Immune disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Obesity

While you cannot avoid all stressors in life, you can learn to manage stress in healthy ways. Doing so can decrease the impact of stress on your health.

Getting Help for Stress

There are several things you can do every day to manage and prevent stress, including:

  • Get adequate sleep
  • Exercise daily
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Spend time doing things you love

If you continue to have stress, you can try a few proven techniques to calm your body in the middle of a stressful event. For example, you can practice deep breathing or listen to calming music. Even if you do all of these at-home remedies, there’s still a chance you can react to life’s stressors negatively.

That’s why one of the best things you can do to manage your stress is to talk to a licensed counselor. Whether you live with a mental illness or not, these trained professionals can help you learn new ways to cope with difficult things in life.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one common method that therapists use to help patients with excess stress. In CBT, you learn to react to triggers in positive, constructive ways. Your counselor can help you retrain your mind to see things in new ways.

If you’re ready to get your stress under control, contact a Florida therapy clinic near you today. We can connect you with a caring, professional counselor who can help. The skills you learn can help you for the rest of your life, no matter what it has in store.