What Is Stress And How Do I Deal With It?

What is Stress? 

Chances are that you, the reader of this article, are feeling some degree of stress at this very moment. That’s okay and natural, as stress is simply your body’s reaction to challenging, dangerous, or nerve-racking situations in your life. Whether you’re struggling to pay bills, having a fight with your boss at work, or tending to a sick family member, there are many valid reasons why people experience stress. 

According to statistics from the American Institute of Stress, 55% of people say they feel stress every day. 77% of people say that stress negatively affects their physical or mental health and one-third of people report experiencing “extreme” levels of stress. These statistics revealed that the current stress level experienced by Americans is 20 percentage points higher than the rest of the global average. 

Stress may occur when we feel like we can’t control our current situation or when we're under a lot of pressure. Some of the most common feelings associated with stress are: 

  • Worry 
  • Fear 
  • Sadness 
  • Anger 
  • Hopelessness or feeling suddenly overwhelmed 
  • Heaviness in your chest or back 
  • Depression or feeling more emotional than usual 
  • Anger 
  • Increased heart rate 


It’s important to remember that everybody experiences stress differently and that stress is a necessary and unavoidable part of life that helps us work through challenges 


What Causes Stress? 

A study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that the levels of stress in both children and adults are skyrocketing- and have been for more than a decade. According to survey respondents, the most common causes of stress were: 

  1. Money 
  2. Work 
  3. Family Responsibilities 
  4. Health 
  5. Safety 

The same study also investigated the impact that stress has on not just the worldwide economy, but health. It is estimated that American employers spend a combined $300 billion (about $920 per person in the US) every year on health care and missed workdays due to stress.  

Another study by the South Louisiana Medical Associates found that long-term stress is linked to serious health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety, and substance use disorder. The study also found that stress was correlated with lung illness and even certain cancers.  


How To Manage Stress 

When feeling stressed out, it’s important to decompress in healthy ways. Many people cope using unhealthy methods because of their ability to provide a “quick fix” from stress. These unhealthy quick fixes can temporarily reduce symptoms of stress but may quickly leave you feeling more stressed than before. Unhealthy ways of destressing include: 

  • Using drugs or alcohol 
  • Eating junk food 
  • Binging TV/movies/social media 
  • Sleeping too often 
  • Procrastination 

Healthy stress management begins with identifying what is contributing to the stress in your life along with finding what helps you relax. Although it feels like your problems may be mounting, the way you cope with your stress can be the difference between overcoming your challenges in a healthy way and doing more damage to yourself. Healthy ways of destressing include: 

  • Exercise 
  • Mindfulness activities such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing  
  • Journaling, therapy, or talking with loved ones  
  • Listen to music 
  • Engage in a favorite hobby such as painting, volunteering, or playing games 


Managing stress is important for not just your mental health, but for your physical health too. Chronic stress can lead to a range of physical and psychological issues if not dealt with in a healthy manner. Everybody experiences stress due to our chaotic and demanding lives, and everybody experiences that stress in different ways. That’s why the importance of engaging in healthy stress management techniques which can help you both feel better and accomplish your goals cannot be understated.  


Contact Us

You May Also Like

More recent blog articles