More than ever, many of us are feeling the stress of everyday life, and that can have a negative impact in many ways. Doctor Stephanie Young Moss joined us today to help us recognize the signs of stress on our mental health and offer some remedies. Here’s more from her:
Stress impacts every aspect of our lives, from physical health to emotional health. More than anything, stress negatively impacts our emotional health. It can cause you to be depressed, emotionally drained and exhausted. Not to mention a slew of other negative things.
In this article, I am going to help you identify the emotional impact of your stress and what you can do about it.
Personality Changes That May be Caused by Stress
The first way for you to identify if stress is impacting your emotional health, is by observing if you have any personality changes. It’s important to note that by personality changes, this means long-term. Everyone experiences mood shifts, good days and bad days, etc. I’m talking about noticing these personality changes taking effect for days and weeks at a time, or longer.
The following are noticeable personality changes that could be caused by stress:
- Anxious Behavior
- Decreased interest in appearance
- Aggressive feelings or behavior
- Decreased concern in punctuality
- Reduced work efficiency or productivity
- Obsessive/compulsive behaviors
- Excessive suspiciousness or defensiveness
- Lying or making excuses to cover up poor work or behavior
- Communication difficulties
- Social withdraw
If you notice any of the following changes taking hold on your life and emotional health, try to limit your stress and seek additional help from your doctor or a mental health professional.
Stress can cause certain anxiety disorders to creep up, come back, or flare up. Stress and anxiety go hand in hand and rarely exist without each other. If you’re overworked and overstressed and do nothing about it, anxiety can start to take hold.
If you notice that simple situations cause you to feel anxious or even to panic, this could be a problem for you. If you’re unfamiliar with the feelings of anxiety, here are some common signs of panic:
● Heart racing
● Tightness in the chest making it difficult to breath
● Stomach pain
● Acid reflux
Stress can also impact your emotional health by causing or worsening depression. It’s very important to address depression if it’s starting to take hold in your life, as it can worsen very quickly with little to no warning. If you’ve noticed any of the following symptoms creep up and not seem to go away, consider talking to a friend, loved one, or mental health professional for assistance:
● Decreased interest in favorite things or activities
● Social withdraw or isolation
● Decreased interest in appearance
● Interest in doing little other than laying around
● Decreased interest in hygiene
● Sense of hopelessness
Tips for Reducing Daily Stress
In order for you to reduce stress that you experience on a daily basis, you need to
understand what your actual stressors are. These worry thoughts are could be what is
adding to your stress and overwhelm. If you are dealing with burnout, it could be making
that worse as well. Worry thoughts are sometimes very obvious, while other times they
come from very surprising places.
The first thing you need to do is figure out what your biggest stressors are, then
look for good resolutions to put these to rest. Not all of them will have a good resolution,
but you might find that some of your thoughts are just you overthinking or making a
bigger deal out of things that you really need to.
Write Down Your Stress/Worries and Analyze Them
Not sure what your worry thoughts are? Write them down! This is yet another benefit of
using a journal when you struggle with stress, worry, or overwhelm. Take a few minutes
to write down anything you are thinking about. What you will notice is a lot of your
thoughts on paper are things you are worried or concerned about. This typically
happens naturally without having to think too much about it.
Be Mindful to Reduce Daily Stress
To reduce daily stress, start practicing mindfulness. It is not a miracle cure for
every concern in your life, but being more mindful helps you understand your state of
mind during each activity and helps you maintain a more positive attitude. Focus on what
you are eating, where your mind is while you are working, your emotions while driving,
walking, or other daily activities.
If you’ve noticed that stress is impacting your emotional health, there are a few other things you can do to help:
- Eliminate unnecessary stressors
- Keep to a schedule or to-do list
- Take time for yourself
- Practice breathing exercises
- Talk to someone about it
- Analyze your diet
Many people don’t realize that what you eat can impact your emotional health. While some foods can increase stress, others help to reduce it. In fact, your diet has a much larger impact on your stress levels than you might expect, and your stress can determine what your food choices end up being. This is a vicious cycle that starts with focusing on proper nutrition to fuel your body.
Here are a few nutrients you need to help balance your mood and fight stress naturally are:
Omega 3 fatty acids – Healthy fats are still important! Some Omega-3’s have been shown to have a potential benefit in people in mood disorders. You can get your fatty acids from healthy sources of fats like salmon, tuna, walnuts, avocado and olive oil.
Vitamin D– Do you know why you feel more energized and happier during sunny days? It is the vitamin D from the sun’s UV rays. While getting plenty of sunshine can help increase your vitamin D, many people need supplements. Small amounts of Vitamin D can also be found in fish, eggs, and fortified foods. People with dark complexion skin are more prone to Vitamin D deficiencies.
Fiber–It has been shown that high fiber foods can increase your mood. For more fiber, eating more fruit, avocados, and whole grains is usually a good place to start.
Calcium– Calcium supplementation has been shown to be effective for reducing mood swings and anxiety. While many people get their calcium from dairy and yogurt, you might not be someone who can eat a lot of dairy. In this case, you can get it from foods like almonds, sesame seeds, tofu, and kale.
Iron– You also want to make sure you have enough iron. Iron can help with your mental health, as well as balancing your energy levels. Get iron from red meat, turkey, some nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds and almonds, broccoli, and dark chocolate.
Protein – The feel good hormone, Seratonin, is made from the break down of protein, none as amino acids. You get protein from many of these same foods, including meat, poultry and fish, dairy, cheese, eggs, and nuts. Many vegetables and beans also have small amounts of protein.
Unhealthy Habits from Stress
Having too much stress in your life can further encourage you to have other unhealthy habits. Not just having nutrient deficiencies and emotional eating, but generally overeating the wrong foods, not getting enough exercise and sleeping too much, drinking alcohol, smoking, or doing drugs. These activities can make daily stress in your life much worse and cause a vicious cycle that can be hard to stop.
The Cycle Continues
Once you start unhealthy habits to deal with your stress, you may feel that temporarily it is helping, but it is hurting your mental health in the long-term. The best thing you can do is stop this cycle now, start eating right, and look for healthier ways to manage your stress.
Dr. Stephanie Young Moss is a licensed pharmacist and a certified health and nutrition life coach. Her mission is to reduce health disparities by providing families across the world with practical wellness tips that are both attainable and sustainable.
For more information visit drstephanieyomo.com or @drstephanieyomo on Instagram or Facebook.
Doctor Stephanie Will Share Some Natural Ways To Balance Out The Stress Of Our Everyday Lives