How do you know when stress levels are too high?

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We all get stressed on a daily basis, this is perfectly normal, and believe it or not, a little bit of stress can actually help to get things done. However, how do we know when enough is enough and it’s time to make some changes?

CBS New York recently quoted Dr Robert Schacter from the Stress Center of New York as saying “when you have stress, you feel like you can’t catch your breath” and “you feel like you can never do enough in the time you have”.

Ok so you might also recognise some of the other symptoms like feeling tense, irritable and anxious. However, there are other signs that you might not associate with stress which includes bleeding gums, itchy skin, strange dreams and even acne reports CBS.

People who are under too much stress may turn to food for comfort, might drink too much alcohol, and smoke more or even resort to illegal substances. All of this is likely to lead to other serious health problems.

“Stress can cause stroke,” Dr. Schacter told CBS. “It can cause heart attack.”

So what can you do about it?

Well if you live in New York the Stress Center of New York would be a place to start but if you don’t then you can either check out what’s available in your own area or take action to control and manage stress yourself.

According to the American Psychological Association more than half of all visits to a doctor involve something that is stress related. The treatment is often some form of medication or counselling but there are things you can do at home if you want to avoid going down this route.

Apart from the usual and obvious advice such as eating healthily getting enough exercise and making sure you get into a regular sleeping pattern as well as cutting down on smoking and drinking and caffeine, you could also try the following:

Get in touch with nature by taking a walk in the country side, even getting out in the garden for half an hour each day can not only alleviate stress but studies have shown it can ease depression too.

Do something for yourself each day like having a massage, a relaxing bath, socialising with a friend, even lying in bed reading a book can help.

Indulge some creative pursuits like painting, music (listening or playing) or arts and crafts.

If your stress levels don’t improve despite all this then you should speak to your doctor for some professional advice.

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