Understanding Anxiety And Stress: A Friendly Approach

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We’ve all felt that nervous feeling before an important exam, job interview, or big presentation. It is a natural response of the body to challenging situations. However, when these sensations become persistent, they can turn into chronic anxiety and stress, affecting our health and well-being. In this article, we will explore in a friendly and simple way what anxiety and stress are, how they work, and how we can better manage them with practical quotes and examples.

What is stress?

Stress is the body’s response to any demand or threat. When we perceive a challenge, our body goes into “fight or flight mode,” releasing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones prepare us to face the situation, increasing our alertness and energy. Some symptoms of stress manifest themselves through:

At the same time, some common causes of stress are:

Imagine you have an important presentation at work. Your heart starts to beat faster, your hands sweat, and you feel a knot in your stomach. This is stress acting to prepare you for the challenging situation.

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What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness or fear about the future. Although we all feel anxiety in certain situations, some people experience higher and persistent levels of anxiety, which can interfere with their daily life. Symptoms of anxiety:

Common types of anxiety disorders are:

Carla always worries about her family, her job, and her health, even when there is no specific reason for it. This causes insomnia and problems concentrating in her daily life, a clear sign of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

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How Stress and Anxiety Work

Both stress and anxiety activate our sympathetic nervous system, responsible for the “fight or flight” response. This activation is useful in situations of immediate danger, but when left activated for long periods, it can cause health problems. Impact on health:

According to the American Psychological Association, “chronic stress can suppress the immune system, disrupt the digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and accelerate the aging process”.

stress-anxiety-how-to-manage them

Finding ways to manage stress and anxiety is essential to maintaining good mental and physical health. Some effective strategies:

1.Relaxation Techniques

Among which stand:

  • Deep breathing: Helps calm the nervous system.
  • Meditation and Mindfulness: Promotes mindfulness and reduces anxiety.
  • Regular Exercise: Releases endorphins, improving mood.

Juan began practicing meditation for 10 minutes every morning. He noticed that this helped him stay calmer and more focused during the day, significantly reducing his stress level.

2. Healthy Habits

Among those that stand out:

  • Balanced diet: A balanced diet can improve your overall well-being.
  • Adequate Sleep: Make sure you get enough sleep each night.
  • Social Connections: Maintain positive relationships and seek support when you need it.

A study published in Harvard Health highlights that “positive social relationships can significantly reduce stress levels and improve overall mental health.”

3. Seek Professional Help

If you feel like you can’t handle stress or anxiety on your own, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or therapist.

Conclusions

Stress and anxiety are the body’s natural responses to challenging situations, but when they become chronic, they can negatively affect our lives. Understanding how they work and learning to manage them through relaxation techniques, healthy habits and professional support can make a big difference in our well-being. Remember, taking care of your mental health is as important as taking care of your physical health.

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If you feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to talk to a trusted friend or seek help from a therapist. Sometimes an outside perspective can provide the tools needed to better manage stress and anxiety.

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