effects of stress

The Effects of Stress

Stress is the body’s reaction to environmental changes that require some sort of adaptation or response. Stress is a normal, unavoidable part of daily life. At any given time, we can experience good stress (e.g., getting a new job you were hoping for) or bad stress (e.g., constantly worrying about whether the people around you have a communicable disease), but both types require us to respond.

Although we may not always know when we are stressed out, we can look to our body to give us valuable clues. Have you ever noticed that during times of stress you may feel physically different than when you’re relaxed? That’s because our body undergoes many physiological changes during stressful periods. When the stressful situation passes, our body goes back to normal and we go about our day. However, when we experience repeated or constant stressors, we can get to a point where our body doesn’t go back to its normal functioning. This can cause us problems because being in a constant state of stress is bad for us mentally, physically, and emotionally.

It is important to recognize physical changes in our body that let us know we are experiencing something we find stressful. If you can’t stop your mind from worrying and are having trouble concentrating or sleeping, you are likely experiencing stress. Below are some less obvious indicators that can also be a sign of being stressed out:

Deconstructing Stress Blog

*Note: Some of these symptoms can also be signs of a medical condition. Check with your physician to learn more.
Dr. Marsha Brown Deconstructing Stress

3 Steps to Decrease Your Stress: Planning Your Week

Most of us look forward to the weekend. Two days with endless potential to do whatever we want, whenever we want to do it. When Sunday afternoon comes, the last thing on our minds is stopping to plan the week ahead. After all, who wants to think about the fact that another weekend has flown by and we’ll be due back at work in a few short hours? No one, that’s who. However, by taking a few minutes every week to plan the week ahead, you can decrease your stress and help your week run much more smoothly. Bonus: Planning your week can also help you focus on the tasks and goals that are most important to you. Here are three steps to get you started:

Step 1

Look at your calendar and figure out what appointments or events you have during the week ahead: For each appointment, figure out what you will need to be prepared for, and get the most out of, the appointment. Gather materials, notes, etc. related to the appointment ahead of time.

Step 2

Choose between one and three things you would like to focus on this week. Don’t try to take on too much as this might lead to getting nothing done. Dr. Marsha Brown ArticleBy narrowing your focus, you increase the likelihood of completing tasks or, at the very least, making progress towards your goals. Once you have chosen the things you would like to focus on, choose no more than two small tasks to complete that will bring you closer to completing each goal. By working toward goals in small increments, you can make steady progress and avoid feeling like a task is too large or overwhelming to accomplish.

Step 3

Create new appointments in your calendar based on the previous two steps. Do you need to prepare for a Zoom meeting with a potential new client? Schedule it. Do you need to find temporary income during an economic downturn? Schedule it. You are more likely to accomplish a task if you have set aside time in your schedule to work on them.

Note: Although they are not specifically mentioned here, tasks such as meal planning/prep and exercise scheduling are extremely important. These things should also be a regular part of your schedule and planning for the week ahead, as they are necessary to keeping yourself healthy, both mentally and physically.