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Mental Health Awareness Month: The Connection Between Stress And Your Health

May 2024


What Is Stress?


Stress is a general term used for a stimulus that can cause a response in the body. Common stressors include:

  • physical activity

  • hunger or dehydration

  • a test or presentation

  • family issues

  • a traumatic experience

 

Stress responses are natural. This is how the body survives during tough times. Depending on how long you are exposed to a stressor and what type of stressor it is, your body may adapt in a variety of different ways.

 

Short-Term (Acute) Stressors

 

When your body is put through short lived stressful situations, your body may adapt by:

  • Enhancing you mental and physical performance

  • Increasing your anxiety level

  • Increasing your heart and breathing rate

  • Increasing your levels of adrenaline (the short-term stress hormone)

  • Increasing mental focus

 

Your body makes these changes so that you can overcome tough situations, be successful and get back to living your normal life.

 

Long-Term (Chronic) Stressors

 

When your body is exposed to stress for a long period of time or if the stressor is repetitive, it can cause long-lasting negative effects on the body. Effects of long-term stress include but are not limited to:

  • Weakened health and immunity

  • Aggravation of pre-existing health conditions

  • Increased levels of cortisol (the long-term stress hormone)

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Mental health conditions – depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder

 

Tips and Tricks For Stress Management


  • Deep breathing

  • Focus on aspects of your situation that you can control

  • Move your body

  • Take a nap/get quality sleep

  • Spend time with friends and family

  • Eat something yummy and healthy

  • Check in with a mental health services provider – Psychotherapist, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Counselor, Social Worker

 

At our clinic, we offer mental health services with a registered psychotherapist.


What Does A Psychotherapist Do?


  • Talk therapy to work through your goals

  • Analyze your situation with an impartial eye

  • Offer solutions and strategies to help you approach your situation

  • Stress-management and self-care tips and tricks

  • Offer support during different life events 


What Can You Expect During A Psychotherapy Session


During your psychotherapy session, you can expect to work with your therapist to explore your presenting concerns, mental and/or physical health history, past traumas, relationships, as well as other areas of your life that may be impacting your wellness. 


Based on your personal goals, you can expect to develop multiple skills and strategies to support your well-being. As you grow, your goals may evolve over time; therefore, your therapist will check in with you to re-evaluate your goals as needed.

 

The frequency of the therapy sessions will depend on your concerns and can be explored during the initial consultation or counseling session. Homework or take-home strategies may be provided between sessions to further support your mental health journey. 



If you or someone you know needs guidance through life stressors or mental health challenges, don’t hesitate to seek out support services and mental health providers. Most health benefit plans understand the challenges related to stress and have added mental health service coverage to their policies.

 

Reach out to a mental health professional, talk to a friend or family member, or contact a registered helpline. Your health and wellbeing are important, and there are people equipped to help. Don’t face it alone, the first step to healing is to reach out for support.

 

If you are unsure if psychotherapy is for you, book a free consultation with our psychotherapist HERE.


 

Sources:

 

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