10 things you might not know about STRESS and ANXIETY
Stress and anxiety are among the most common issues confronted by the society today. Knowing their causes and how they impact your life is a great way to protect your mental and emotional health.
Below are ten interesting facts about stress and anxiety that will increase your understanding of these two potentially debilitating issues.
Stress and anxiety are not the same.
You may often come across with articles using the words ‘stress’ and ‘anxiety’ almost interchangeably. However, they are not the same. Stress is your body’s response to a change in the environment, whether positive or negative. You can experience stress even in situations that you are happy about, just like starting a new job. Anxiety, on the other hand, refers to an emotion that is characterised by a feeling of fear, apprehension or nervousness.
Anxiety has an essential role to play.
Feeling anxious may not feel enjoyable. However, it is a natural response critical to human survival. Anxiety can give you the level of alertness and focus you need during difficult situations.
Chronic stress may lead to depression.
Chronic stress increases the risk of major depressive disorder – an intense form of depression that lasts for a long period of time and often prevents a person from living a normal life. So if you think you are chronically stressed, speak to me or any other professional therapist right away.
Causes of stress are NOT the same for everyone.
People deal with different stressors. But a situation or event that may be stressful for someone else may not necessarily be stressful for another. For example, the thought of getting on stage and speaking in front of hundreds of people may be a source of stress for other people but not for you, or vice versa.
Weight loss could be a sign of stress.
Whilst eating problems could be a symptom of chronic stress, it is not limited to the loss of appetite. In some cases, individuals who are too stressed tend to overeat which leads to weight gain. Other indicators of too much stress are lack of energy, use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs, and conflict in relationships.
Irritability is a sign of too much stress.
Stress can affect your overall well-being. Aside from being easily annoyed and irritable, other warning signs for too much stress are having short temper, being moody, and having problems concentrating.
Mixed anxiety is very common in Britain.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, mixed anxiety and depression are the most common mental disorders in Britain, with almost 9 per cent of people meeting the criteria for diagnosis. In the Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity 2012 report, it was reported that between 8 to 12 per cent of the population experience depression in any year.
Anxiety disorder is more common in women.
Women are twice more likely to experience generalised anxiety disorder than men. This mental illness is characterised by persistent excessive, unrealistic worry over everyday problems that goes on for six months or more.
Chronic stress and anxiety disorder are treatable.
Anxiety disorder can be treated using medication or psychotherapy. The latter is usually chosen by many sufferers because it targets the root cause of the problem, and does not only mask the symptoms. Medications may provide temporary relief but it does not break the cycle of anxiety or stress. These drugs may also come with side effects.
Undergoing therapy is necessary.
About 70 to 90 per cent of people with mental illness experience significant improvement in their quality of life after receiving appropriate treatment and support. Hypnotherapy in my own experience has proven to be an extremely effective form of treatment for stress, anxiety and depressive disorders.
Some of my clients who have suffered from depression for decades or more have used the powerful hypnotic techniques that I have shown them in order to break the negative thought patterns and have seen life-changing transformations from as few as 3 sessions.
The relief for chronic stress and anxiety disorder is not the same for everyone. However, making positive lifestyle changes is the key to protecting your health from the debilitating effects of these two mental illnesses.
You can start by creating a healthy eating plan, giving more emphasis on nutritious foods, and making some form of exercise a daily habit. Then, incorporate fun activities into your life to refresh your mind and keep you going amidst all the stressors around you!
As always, I welcome your comments.
Clinical Hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist
Part of the Core Health Centre