Stress is an unavoidable part of everyday life, and can have both positive and negative effects on our physical and mental well-being. In the short-term, stress can motivate us to meet deadlines, stay focused and achieve goals.
Chronic stress makes us sick
However, chronic or ongoing stress can have a detrimental effect on our health and well-being. Too much stress can lead to physical and emotional exhaustion. Stress causes relationship problems, and makes it difficult to concentrate. When chronic stress is ongoing, it can be deadly. A 2008 NIH study links chronic stress to:
- increased risk of diabetes
- increased risk of heart disease
- suppresses the immune system
- increased asthma
- increased risk of ulcers and peptic ulcers
- increased risk of colitis
- increased risk of developing a psychiatric illness 
When stress begins to interfere with our daily lives and activities, it is important to take action.
Managing stress at home
There are many ways to manage the downstream effects of stress. It helps to eat a balanced diet. Everyone knows health adults should be exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. More people than ever are engaging in mindfulness, which is very helpful. It can also be beneficial to keep a journal. Identifying the sources of stress helps us better understand them.
Therapy helps us take a different perspective
Therapy is one of the most helpful tools for managing stress. A therapist can provide a safe and non-judgmental space to explore the sources of your stress. Together you can work through underlying issues and develop lasting coping strategies. In therapy, individuals can learn to recognize their own needs and find effective ways to manage them. Together with your therapist, you will develop insight and understanding into your own behavior. Therapy can also be a space to process and understand emotions. Your therapist helps you develop resilience and improve problem-solving skills.
Ultimately, addressing stress is an important part of maintaining health. Taking steps to understand, not just manage, your stress can help prevent it from becoming overwhelming. Therapy can be an effective tool in helping identify and understand the sources of stress, and develop skills to better manage it.