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Stress: Good and bad

A little is OK. But too much will wear you down, affect how you think, how you feel – physically and mentally. We are referring to stress.

Stress is your body’s reaction to events in your life, how you protect yourself from danger or risk of harm. Short term, it kicks you into action when you see the danger, and goes away when the danger is past, normal, healthy fight-or-flight response. But when the danger is past and the high adrenalin rush doesn’t go away and you stay in fight or flight response, your body is still on alert even when there is no risk of harm. That is called chronic stress, and it’s not good for you.

“You don’t understand about my anxiety,” someone says to the person who tells them to just take a couple of deep breaths, shake it off, and keep going.

Lately it seems that many of us feel our hearts begin to race, we breathe a little faster and our bodies tense up when we catch a news report. There is so much going on in the world around us that agitates us, challenges us. We just want everything to get back to ‘normal,’ whatever normal used to be. When you look at the symptoms for “stress” you get a fuller idea of what’s going on with you and the people in your world. Things like so easily becoming upset, moody, agitated, frustrated; feeling overwhelmed, like you’re losing control or you need to get control of the situation. When you take that deeeeeep breath and still can’t quite relax your muscles or calm your mind. And we don’t have to avoid others. Covid took care of that.

It seems like a vicious circle, round and round and round! When the stress continues too long, you can develop physical difficulties … low energy, headaches, aches and pains, upset stomach, rapid heartbeat and chest pain. Sleeping is not restful. There’s a list of possible physical challenges when you are experiencing long term stress.

Acute stress is short term and goes away when the danger is past. Chronic stress is longer-lasting, explains WebMD.

In fact, you may become so used to being stressed out that you don’t even recognize it anymore. The body stays in fight-or-flight mode, according to Medline Plus at the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Excessive worry or anxiety about multiple issues which lingers six months or longer can indicate generalized anxiety disorder. Synonyms for stress include anxiety, feeling uptight, tension, jitters, and apprehension.

You might need the help of a professional if you …

… have feelings of panic, dizziness, rapid breathing or racing heart beat.

… are unable to work or function at home or at your job.

… have fears you cannot control

… are having memories of a traumatic event.

Family Recovery Center doesn’t help only families with addiction issues. FRC can help families find ways to navigate through these challenging times. For more information about how FRC can assist you with the anxiety and stress of Covid-19, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. Visit the web site at www.familyrecovery.org. Family Recovery Center is funded, in part, by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.

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