Is Stress a Normal Part In Your Life?

The popularity of the term ‘stress’ has tended to have specific meaning, whereby, individuals may equate stress with worry, anxiety, nervousness, tension or other similar feelings. Stress refers to an accumulation of concerns that unbalances a person’s life. Stress represents an overload that throws people’s lives out of equilibrium. People complain about stress so much that individuals may assume it is a fact of modern life about which they can do little. Stress makes it harder for individuals to remain focused on healing. It is easy for people to become accustomed to a certain level of stress and not even be aware of its presence until physical warning signs appear. However, individuals need to recognize the signs of stress and minimize the effects that it has on their lives.

Examples of signs and symptoms of stress and the categories under which negative reactions to stress can be divided into several categories -- physical, cognitive (mental), emotional, and behavioral.






Difficulty concentrating


Increased alcohol use




Cigarette smoking

Chest tightness



Increased caffeine use


Thoughts of death

Poor self-esteem

Drug use

Stomach cramps

Poor attention to detail



Difficulty breathing

Perfectionist tendencies






Weight gain or loss

Loss of sexual interest

Feeling helpless


Relationship conflict


Catastrophizing (blowing things out of proportion)

Loss of motivation

Decreased activity

Stress reducers
Numerous techniques have been suggested to help people minimize their negative reactions to stress. Many are common sense solutions and may not appear to have much value -- but try them, they are helpful.

  • Get a good night's sleep.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Exercise on a regular basis.
  • Engage in at least one pleasurable activity every day.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Use alcohol in moderation.
  • Use caffeine in moderation.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself, your job and your family.
  • Develop a good support system.

Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process. Long-term stress can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety and depression.

You may feel like the stress in your life is out of your control, but you can always control the way you respond. Managing stress is all about taking charge: taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, your environment, and the way you deal with problems. Stress management involves changing the stressful situation when you can, changing your reaction when you can’t, taking care of yourself, and making time for rest and relaxation.

Everybody has the power to reduce the impact of stress as it’s happening in that moment. With practice, you can learn to spot stressors and stay in control when the pressure builds. Sensory stress techniques give you a powerful tool for staying clear-headed and in control in the middle of stressful situations. They give you the confidence to face challenges, knowing that you have the ability to rapidly bring yourself back into balance.