In today’s busy world, we are pressured to follow many directions at once. We have responsibilities at home and at work, and sometimes it just beats us. Our body begins to let us know that we are feeling the stress of our daily life. The sensations of stress are caused by the instinct of our body to defend itself. This instinct is good in emergency situations, like when we have to get out of the way of a vehicle approaching at full speed. But stress can cause unhealthy physical symptoms if not handled properly.

Our body works overtime when it faces everyday challenges. The reality is that we are not prepared to face all that extra energy. We can begin to feel anxiety, fear, worry and tension. If stress is not kept under control, it can cause serious health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

You may also have to face important events in life that can cause stress. These may include:

  • The loss of a job (or the beginning of a new one).
  • Your child leaves or returns to the family home.
  • The death of your spouse.
  • A divorce or a marriage.
  • An illness or injury from you or a close family member.
  • Money problems.
  • A move.
  • The birth or adoption of a baby.

Path to greater well-being

Stress can cause health problems or worsen existing problems. Talk to your primary care doctor if you think your symptoms may be caused by stress. It is important to make sure that they are not caused by other health problems.

Learn to recognize when you feel stressed. The first signs of stress include tension in the shoulders and neck, or clenching of the fists. Try to avoid the fact or situation that causes you stress. If that is impossible, change the way you react to stress.

  • Workout. It is a healthy way to relieve the accumulated energy and tension. Exercise releases brain chemicals that make us feel good, called endorphins. It also helps to get in physical shape, which allows you to feel better.
  • Eat well. Stress can affect your appetite. Make sure you are eating regularly and balanced.
  • Sleep as necessary. It is important to get enough sleep so that your body has time to recover.
  • Meditate. Meditation is a form of guided thought. It can take many forms. You can do it with exercises that use the same movements over and over again, like walking or swimming. You can meditate practicing relaxation techniques, stretching or breathing deeply.
    • The relaxation techniques are simple. Start with a muscle. Hold it for a few seconds and then relax it. Do this with each of your muscles, starting with the toes and feet, and keep moving up to the rest of the body.
    • The elongation can also relieve tension. Rotate the head in a soft circle. Stretch up, and lean to one side and to the other slowly. Rotate the shoulders
    • The deep, relaxed breathing alone can help relieve stress. This helps you get a lot of oxygen and activates the relaxation response of your body.
  • Let it be. Do not worry about things you can not control, such as weather.
  • Do not worry about small things. Solve small problems. This can help you have a sense of control.
  • Be ready. Prepare yourself according to your capacity for events that you know may be stressful, such as a job interview.
  • Up that encourage. Try to see change as a positive challenge, not as a threat.
  • Look for solutions. Resolve conflicts you have with other people.
  • Use the word. Talk about what is bothering you with a friend, family member or therapist you trust.
  • Be realistic Set realistic goals at home and at work. Avoid programming too many things.
  • Have a little fun Participate in an activity that does not cause stress, such as sports, social events or hobbies.
  • Simply say no. Stay away from drugs and alcohol. In fact, they can increase your stress levels.

When to consult your doctor

Below is a list of symptoms you may experience when you feel stressed. If you have tried the above tips and feel that you still need help managing stress, visit your GP.

Typical signs of stress

  • anxiety
  • Back pain
  • constipation or diarrhea
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • Headaches
  • high blood pressure
  • difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • affective problems
  • dyspnoea
  • stiff neck or jaw
  • stomach ache
  • increase or loss of weight

Questions to ask your doctor

  • What can I do to fall asleep more easily?
  • I’m exercising and eating healthy. What else can I do to stay healthy and not feel so stressed?
  • Do you recommend that I take medication if I can not keep stress and anxiety in check?