Dr. Joy says what matter most is how you react to stress.

Coping With Stress Overload

By WEEK Producer

July 13, 2010 Updated Jul 13, 2010 at 2:46 PM CDT

Some researchers suggest that between 75-90% of all primary care physician visits are connected to STRESS- RELATED complaints! So, we're investigating some of the signs and symptoms of stress overload, as well as some suggestions for stress management.

First of all… twhat is stress? Stress is nothing more than an internal or external "load" on our human system. But, the way we react to that load is what determines if the stress or stress reaction is positive or negative. Stress overload occurs when a person does not adequately deal with the dis-stress and they experience some form of symptoms that affect their daily life in a negative way.

What are some of the symptoms of stress overload? There are symptoms, which affect us physically, mentally, or emotionally. Symptoms include lack of concentration, forgetfulness, low self-esteem, elevated heart rate, headaches, backaches, insomnia, depression, anxiety.

Is stress-overload more prevalent to one sex or the other? Many researchers believe that women are more prone to stress-overload due to the fact that they take on too much and don't speak out and say 'no' of set limits. Additionally, many women don't ask for help or have to skills to let go of stressors.

What are some useful ways of coping with stress overload?

1. Talk and share! Learn to ask for help, delegate or negotiate tasks at home and at work.

2. Plan regular leisure time. Plan down time to go out with friends, enjoy a movie, a hobby, or just kick back and watch television or a warm bath.

3. Say no. Give yourself permission to be assertive with those around you and set boundaries. If you have trouble saying 'no' try saying, 'I’ll think about it' so you have time to consider if you really want to do something or not.

4. Set realistic goals for each day. Try not to over-commit and know your limitations.

5. Change your mind. Remember you do have the ability to change your thinking and put a positive spin on many negative stressors.

6. Watch out for multitasking—it can become over-tasking! Slow down, and do one thing at a time.

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