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Americans are stressed. Over 75 percent of respondents in a recent Stress in America poll said stress negatively impacts their lives. And over a third of adults said they feel overwhelmed by stress most days. About 70 percent of Americans say they have physical and mental symptoms of stress.
Getting rid of stress is unlikely. And some experts say stress has its good points. It can motivate change, for example. But if feeling highly stressed is starting to be your routine state, it’s time to look at steps you can take to even things out.
Learning about stress will help you handle it. You can start to make changes and learn how to adapt. There is always something you can do about your stress, whether it stems from family, finances, health or other sources. By understanding where it is coming from, you can work on ways to reduce it and manage stressful situations better.
Work is a common source of stress, and it doesn’t stop when you go home. Feeling stressed at work can lead to health problems and other issues in all areas of your life. You may find that you get headaches or stomachaches. Or you can’t sleep, hold your temper or think clearly. It can even raise your blood pressure and cause anxiety. In the long run, it can harm your immune system.
And not only can it contribute to health conditions such as depression, obesity and heart disease, but people deal with the stress in unhealthy ways, says the American Psychological Association. That includes overeating, smoking or misusing drugs and alcohol.
It can also spell job burnout. It can leave you feeling exhausted, angry, distracted, disappointed and less productive. If you’re feeling less than motivated in your job, it may be time to make some changes. Try these three steps to get started.
When it comes to causes behind stress, WebMD says work stress tops the list. Forty percent of U.S. workers say they have office stress. About 25 percent say work is their biggest problem.
But people have different work-related stress triggers. Some common ones are:
Once you identify your triggers, you can find ways to manage them instead of just reacting.
You can take steps to fight that stressed out feeling. Dr. Rozina Lakhani of the American Institute of Stress says to start by remembering CPR: Calm, Process, Respond. Calm your mind and body, process your thoughts and feelings, and respond by finding productive solutions. Those steps can help you handle workplace stress.
Time management may help. Set realistic goals, make a priority list and protect your time.
Other tips for when stress gets the best of you:
If you’re not able to handle the stress in your life on your own, ask your doctor what steps you can take to get help. Talking to a mental health provider may be something you should try.
Originally published 3/6/2020; Revised 2022
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