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What is Stress?
Stress is a person’s response to any situation or event that requires adjustment or change. The
stress reaction prepares the mind and body to react to any situation that is new, threatening or
exciting. We often think of stress only in terms of negative events, but stressors can be positive as
well. The result has more to do with how we interpret an event than it does with the stressor itself.
For example, one student may see getting a poor grade as a warning to seek help, while another
student may interpret this event as a blow to his or her life plans. Stress however, is a normal part
of life. Stress provides energy and motivation. The root of problematic stress or an anxiety disorder
may be due to a breakdown in coping.
When Stress Becomes Distress
While there are some needed and natural manifestations of stress, on-going and severe exposure
to stress can be harmful. A person under continued high stress may experience a wide a range of
emotional reactions, which may include anxiety, irritability, sadness and depression. Behaviorally, a
person may experience reduced physical energy, sleeplessness, problems with coordination and
/or psychosomatic symptoms such as headaches, backaches or gastrointestinal problems.
Mentally, a person may have a severe reduction in his/her ability to concentrate, store information
in memory and solve mental problems.
How Do I Reduce Stress?
Stress is a necessary and unavoidable part of life. We cannot and would not want to eliminate all
sources of stress. We can, however, learn to cope more effectively with stressors by employing
effective physical, behavioral and cognitive coping strategies. People tend to use different ways of
coping at different times. The ways people cope with stress can be divided into three areas:
Solution-Focused, Emotion-Focused, and Avoidance. Make your Appointment Today!
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|Brian K. Oltman