Stress is a well-known term prevailing on social media, TV, job descriptions, etc. It’s not a secret that everyone feels it and is affected by it somehow.
Some even try to develop a skill to work under pressure, even if that ultimately doesn’t give the desired outcome.
The general adoption of stress as a normal human response is alarming.
Not recognizing anxiety in this form as a life threat feeds it to a point where it becomes chronic, affecting the physical and mental health, which may have dire consequences in both situations.
This is where online therapy for stress can help. With that in mind, let’s learn what stress is, how it impacts our minds and bodies, and how stress therapy can change your life.
What is Stress?
Stress is our involuntary reaction to pressure, new encounters, drastic changes, and any other life situation that makes us uneasy or helpless.
When we face a situation that threatens us, our body releases stress hormones – responsible for the fight or flight response that activates our immune system.
On normal occasions, the stress release is supposed to trigger our senses to act immediately to save our lives.
In these situations, once we escape the danger, the stress hormones reduce to normal, and we’re balanced back to a state of tranquility.
But, when we’re constantly exposed to stress, and this feeling has become an everyday occurrence, the hormones won’t even out.
Instead, we get locked in a permanent state of fight or flight, which affects both physical and mental health.
Interestingly enough, some people thrive under big stress levels. These people see it as a positive push and use it as a drive to do more and more.
However, this is a dangerous game, for stress can quickly become intense or chronic, which can cause negative impacts on all fields in a person’s life.
How Can Stress Impact Your Mental Health?
Prolonged exposure to stress affects a person’s mood and mental well-being. Therefore, behavioral changes come as the result of imbalanced stress hormones.
Essentially, a stressed person might:
- Feel vulnerable or on the verge of crying – Stress is often a distraction preventing people from doing their regular jobs.
- Prone to substance abuse – It goes without saying that after a long and stressful day, people allow themselves a casual glass of wine to relax.
However, remember that the cure for long-termed stress cannot be found at the end of a bottle.
- Indecisive and stiff – Chronic stress paralyzes the brain to a point where a person cannot make an order at a restaurant, let alone make an important decision.
- Experience trouble sleeping – Even after a long, exhausting, and stressful day, a stressed person might have trouble falling asleep because the adrenaline levels are still spiked.
The next day, the low energy and a high-stress loop continue, which may lead to a blackout or a panic attack.
- Have trouble with physical intimacy – Stressed people have trouble getting intimate with their partners because the pressure and anxiety won’t allow them to relax and focus.
- Snap at people they love – Stressed people are often secluded from society because everything bothers them, especially when someone asks them if they’re feeling okay.
They’re often irritated by the question and respond in anger, not realizing who they might hurt and to what extent.
- Loss of memory – Stress can cause memory loss or trouble remembering trivial things like chores or simple activities.
The bottom line is that stress initially affects our brain. But if the stress locks into that permanent fight or flight situation, then a person starts experiencing physical issues as well.
How Can Stress Impact Your Physical Health?
Mental and physical health are interrelated, so if something affects mental health, it will also relate to the physical and vice versa.
A result of poor sleeping, not relaxing enough, or worrying due to chronic or persistent stress, are many gastrointestinal issues like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), ulcers, or cardiovascular diseases.
Other possible stress-related physical issues that might occur are:
- Headaches – As an outcome of the increased blood pressure, a person might experience tension-type headaches.
These headaches begin with lateral pains, then progress toward the forehead, between the eyes, and culminate with neck pain – depending on the stress level and blood pressure.
- Nausea – When the stress hormones are released in higher dosage for the fight or flight situation, some of them end up in the digestive tract.
If more hormones enter the stomach, they irritate the microbiome and cause nausea.
- Indigestion – When a person experiences a higher level of stress hormones, their esophagus may cram or paralyze, causing the acids to increase.
As a result, the person feels indigestion or nausea, and if they don’t treat their condition, the situation culminates with ulcers.
- Shallow breathing – A person manifests stress by taking tiny, short breaths and quickly moving the air in and out.
They’re using their shoulders more than the diaphragm on such occasions, which makes them experience shortness of breath or chest pains.
- Sweating – Sweating comes as a normal response to fear. If a person is in a fight or flight situation, their apocrine glands start sweating, especially in the back, groin, or under the arms.
Once the adrenaline starts pumping, the person may experience chills and shivers.
- Heart palpitations – As a result of the increased blood flow, the heart might skip a beat in a stressed situation.
However, exposure to long stressful periods may cause arrhythmia or even heart attacks.
- Aches and pains – Muscle aches, joint pain, and chest pain are only a response to the perpetual tension that stiffs the entire body because of the high level of cortisol – the primary stress hormone.
Not reaching for proper stress therapy can significantly worsen your physical and mental health.
How to Overcome Stress?
The first approach to battling stress is to recognize its origin. Staying hydrated, meditating, exercising, and getting back on a healthy diet can bring significant improvements.
Your body must have all the nutritional values to begin working properly; otherwise, there won’t be an effect.
A person may skip the exercise or one of the meals, but they cannot turn it into a habit. Sticking to a healthy way of eating and working out regime is crucial.
But, to completely balance your stress level and get back to normal, you should seek proper medical help. One of the best options is online therapy for stress.
How Does Online Therapy Help?
Online therapies are more convenient initially for practical reasons. Given that we’re living in a fast-paced world where we’re constantly busy with our jobs or other activities, people often avoid visiting a psychologist or psychiatrist.
However, with online therapies, they don’t need to waste time, or money on commuting because the session will be straight from the comfort of their home.
Moreover, stress therapies can be accessed from anywhere. Therefore, patients have many online stress therapists to choose from all over the world.
They can pick their favorite, book a meeting, and start the sessions. Generally, online therapy sessions cost half of the in-person therapies for the same counseling services.
3 Best Therapies for Stress
Online therapists conduct the same online counseling services as in-person therapists.
They start by discussing the problem and, with time, agree on the treatment that would best suit the patient. The only difference here is the physical closeness of the doctor-patient.
Essentially, a therapist might put the person on some of the following treatments.
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Therapists practice CBT with patients because it allows them to recognize the origin of stress and track the thoughts that create more room for it to grow.
Therefore, the therapist might ask the patient to do journaling, log their emotions and keep track of their thoughts.
Such self-monitoring practice will develop a healthy habit in the patient to cope with the intrusive thoughts and replace them with positive or helpful ones.
2. Brief Solution-Focused Therapy
As stress comes when a person faces drastic life changes or an unfamiliar setting (regardless of mental or physical state), the cortisol overload can lead to anxiety or severe depression.
Therefore, there is a special online therapy for stress on solution-based grounds.
Usually, these therapies are short-termed – 8 sessions tops – during which the therapist will prepare the patient with valuable solution-focused tips and tricks to develop healthier thinking habits.
3. ACT for Undefined Stress
Often, patients cannot recognize the origin of stress and what causes them to feel anxious, so the therapist conducts the ACT therapy on these occasions.
The ACT therapy is all about emotional acceptance and mindfulness skills that will teach the patient how to become open to any opportunity so that they can cope adequately.
By simply letting go of the burden of emotions, the patient realizes that facing them isn’t as hard as it first may have appeared, and suddenly it’s less intense.
Stress is a common occurrence today, and ignoring it can develop drastic changes in your mental and physical health.
There are several ways to deal with this issue, and online therapy for stress is the most advised.
Whether you’re battling chronic stress or going through a tough time, don’t bottle up the stress – seek out help and let it out drop by drop!