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Stress Awareness Month: Why Am I Stressed?

If you’re like 84% of the population - which means there’s a really good chance you are - you’re stressed out.  While there’s certain kinds of stress that are good, called eustress, this baffling statistic is referencing the negative kind of stress, called distress. I’m sure you already know there’s significant disadvantages to prolonged stress, but here’s a recap, just in case:

  • Anxiety or depression

  • Panic attacks

  • Irritability

  • Headaches or migraines

  • Chest pain

  • Exhaustion and trouble sleeping

  • Muscle tension and soreness

  • Decreased sex drive

  • Decreased immune system

  • Gastrointestinal issues (GI)

  • And more!

Clearly, distress isn’t good for any of us.  You may be wondering - what causes stress?  Some of the top causes include:

  • Finances (33% of Americans rank money as their top stressor)

  • Relationships (Gen X and Baby Boomers are likely to name their spouse as the most stressful person in their lives, while Gen Z and Millenials are most likely to name their boss as the most stressful)

  • The state of the world (44% of people said they were significantly stressed about the COVID19 pandemic)

  • Work (11% of people report work as their top stressor)

  • Mental and physical health (9% of people reported mental health as their top stressor, while 8% reported their physical health as most stressful)

  • Your Gender (While your gender itself may not cause stress, 92% of women report feeling stressed any given week, while only 76% of men)


Given all of these worrying statistics, what can you do about stress? Check out three of our top stress-ending tips below.


Be Willing To Set Boundaries (And Keep Them)

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries - everyone knows about them, but it’s hard to know how to properly employ them.  Boundaries are what keep us from working while off the clock, taking on too much in a relationship, and keeping the balance we need in our lives.  This week, try thinking: what is my biggest stressor? What’s one boundary I can set to reduce this stressor? 


For more tips on setting boundaries, we recommend reading Set Boundaries, Find Peace.


Use Your Communication Skills and Social Support

One of the reasons we’re so stressed is that many of us tend to underplay our needs.  We should communicate what we don’t want - setting boundaries - while communicating what we do need.  Using our social support system, like our family and friends, is important here, too.  For example, if you’re stressed about how many responsibilities you have at home, communicate with your partner about how you can share or reduce the load.  If you are doing more than a fair share at work, communicate with your boss the need to hire helpers or shift your role around.


Talk To A Therapist

One of the best ways to learn how to set boundaries, utilize communication skills, and receive social support is talking to a mental health counselor.  Mental health counselors can not only help you build your skills but can give you that social support you’ve been needing.  Sometimes, all you need is a listening ear and someone who can point out what’s stressing you out and how to reduce the stressor.


If you’ve decided you’d like to talk to a counselor, we’re all ears.  You can check us out at https://www.higherlifepathways.com/ and can schedule your initial appointment through our website, as well.  We look forward to hearing from you!


Higher Life Pathways Counseling Services

1800 Diagonal Road, Suite 600 Alexandria, VA 22314

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (571) 946-8115

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