Stress can take a toll on your physical and mental well-being. It’s important to use stress management techniques like mindfulness, meditation, exercise and relaxation to reduce the effects of stress on your body. If you feel anxious or overwhelmed by stress, a therapist or healthcare provider can help.
Everyone experiences stress at various times in their lives. It’s a normal reaction that occurs when you encounter changes or challenges (stressors). Your body responds physically and mentally to stress.
Stress management involves using techniques to improve how you respond to life stressors. These techniques can prevent or ease stress-induced symptoms.
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When you feel stress, you may experience:
People who feel overwhelmed with stress may turn to unhealthy behaviors to cope, such as:
The first step to relieving stress in your life is to identify stressors. Something big like a move, job change or divorce is easy to identify. But small stressors can have a big effect on your physical and mental well-being, too.
You may want to keep a journal to track your stress levels and coping mechanisms. A journal can help you identify stressors and patterns. For a week or longer, write down:
There are lots of ways to cope with stressful situations. To get the most benefit, try to incorporate these techniques into your daily life — not just when you start having symptoms of stress. Most people find relief using a combination of methods.
You should call your healthcare provider if you experience:
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by stressful events and experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. This national network of local crisis centers provides 24/7 free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Stress is a natural and normal part of everyone’s life. You can’t completely eliminate stress — some stressors will always be out of your control. But you can use stress management techniques to handle how you respond to stressful situations. Talking to your healthcare provider is a good first step to finding healthful ways to minimize stress. If appropriate, your provider can refer you to a therapist or prescribe medications for anxiety or other stress-induced health problems.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/27/2021.
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