Stress and anxiety

Stress and Anxiety: Understand Better to Manage Better

Everyone experiences stress and anxiety at one time or another during their lives. It’s normal, and an integral part of our lives. What isn’t is when they become disproportionate and dangerous for your health.

What is stress?

Stress is the body’s response to a real or perceived threat. That response is meant to get people ready for some kind of action to get them out of danger. But most of the threats people face today aren’t something that they can fight or run away from. These threats are usually problems that people have to work through. Stress is very useful when it comes to facing danger and challenges, but when it accumulates, it can become dangerous.

Identifying the cause of stress

There are four types of triggers: little control over a situation, something unpredictable in your life, an unpredictable event, or a threat to your ego.

Memorize the acronym N.U.T.S to easily remember the four types of triggers:

  • Novelty
  • Unpredictability
  • Threat for the ego
  • Sens of low control

Here are a few examples to illustrate:

  • Novelty: a new job, house, child
  • Unpredictablility: car trouble, an accident, a fire
  • Threat fot the ego: a colleague is questioning your abilities, a difficult client, a failing personal relationship
  • Sens of low control: a loved one is ill, too much work, not enough time

Not all of the N.U.T.S have to be present to experience a stressful situation. One is enough, but the more there are, the more the situation is stressful.

How to fight stress?

Identifying the source of your stress using the C.I.N.E. method is a first step. Understanding the source of your stress will help you to develop solutions to deal with it, thereby considerably reducing the production of stress hormones. Why? Because you regain some control over the situation.

Do you need to calm your mind to see more clearly? To regain control, abdominal breathing can be very helpful to calm your body and mind.

From stress to anxiety

Even though anxiety is directly related to stress, it is not exactly the same thing. Anxiety is an emotional response (fear or fright) to a stressor that forces you to avoid a given situation. It is an unpleasant emotion that combines physical symptoms (difficulty breathing, palpitations, sweating, shaking) and anxious thoughts (worries, obsessions, doubts). Don’t confuse stress with anxiety disorder, which is also accompanied by a feeling of prolonged distress in the face of unrealistic or excessive fears.

What can I do?

  • Avoid caffeine and other stimulants. It is therefore necessary to limit the consumption of coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate
  • Exercise cardiovascular exercise at least three times, 30 minutes a week. This makes it possible to change the chemistry of the brain so that it secretes substances that give a feeling of well-being
  • Eat well and ensure enough hours of sleep. Fatigue does not help recovery
  • Avoid avoiding. When we try to avoid situations that cause anxiety, paradoxically we worsen this anxiety and the disability becomes more important

However, anxiety becomes a problem if: 

  • It does not stop when a worrying situation returns to normal
  • It causes an important level of distress
  • It has no connection to a life event, and occurs with no reason
  • It completely consumes you
  • It prevents you from functioning and behaving normally at work, in society or in other areas of daily life

In these cases, do not hesitate to consult a health professional in order to obtain the necessary support.

Consequences of stress and anxiety

Sustained stress or frequent anxiety (or even generalized) can in turn cause other problems, such as:

Your Accès pharma affiliated pharmacist can guide you to different solutions, including non-prescription treatments to help you manage symptoms of stress and anxiety. However, if you are not able to get your symptoms in hand, or the impacts of stress or anxiety are affecting your quality of life, don’t hesitate seek advice from a healthcare professional or talk to your pharmacist.

Anxiety disorders are illnesses that can be treated. There are known treatments available to treat this disorder. Treatments allow people affected to regain control of their lives and daily activities. The earlier an affected person consults with a doctor, the better their chances of recovery. In most cases, anxiety disorders are treated effectively with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of these 2 treatments.

This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice and Accès pharma affiliated pharmacist-owners cannot be held responsible for this information. The information was true and accurate at the time of publication, but it is subject to change.

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