Stress & Adjustment
The term ‘I’m stressed’ is something most of us probably hear, and say, on a regular basis. From juggling tight deadlines at work to running a busy household, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed at times.
But there’s an important difference between manageable everyday stress – the sort that can even be motivating – and stress that builds up insidiously, turning into a serious issue in the process. Accumulative, ongoing stress can turn into a major problem in terms of mental health. Neurological insights into how the brain processes stress suggests that stress can be a key element in the development of anxiety and depression.
It’s common to feel distracted and discombobulated when suffering with chronic stress. It can affect concentration and the way we think, causing our minds to race and our thoughts to become scattered.
The body’s immediate response to perceiving threat is the fight-or-flight response. This includes increased heartbeat, rapid breathing, trembling, pale skin and dilated pupils. Our bodies release the hormones that trigger this response whether the threat is real or imaginary.
So, regardless of whether the threat is a rabid dog or a public-speaking event, your body experiences the same strain, both physically and mentally.
The human brain is designed to be resilient and most people are reasonably well equipped to deal with stress, Edelman points out, adding that genes, personality, and early life experiences play an important role in how resilient we are when dealing with stress.
If you think that you or someone you know may be experiencing anxiety or depression due to stress, completing the following checklist is a quick, easy and confidential way to give you more insight. The checklist won’t provide a diagnosis – for that you’ll need to see a health professional – but it can help to guide you and provide a better understanding of how you’re feeling: