Normal Stress and Anxiety
We all have moments of stress and anxiety at different times, and that is perfectly normal. Both stress and anxiety perform a valuable task of keeping us safe. They are part of our sophisticated survival mechanism. It is almost impossible to go through life without having experienced some stress or anxiety at some point.
going to the dentist taking an exam
Stress is design to make us react quickly in the face of danger. Stress evolved to be activated only in short, sharp bouts, just enough to get us out of a bad situation. It triggers an automatic physiological reaction that is not under the control of the logical part of the mind.
Anxiety is there to make us avoid future dangerous situations. The memory of the stress suffered in the time of danger activates the anxiety function, which is there to make sure we avoid the dangerous thing/situation that made us so stressed before.
Bad Stress and Anxiety and Depression
Prolonged or chronic Stress is bad because the physiological changes it makes to the body should be only for short periods. Prolonged exposure to the stress hormones depress the immune system, and it can significantly damage health.
Anxiety is bad when it is triggered too often and by situations that are not truly dangerous. When we think of something fearful that we wish to avoid, our mind reacts the same way as when it is real, and it is happening at that moment. Therefore, stress causes anxiety and anxiety cause stress.
Prolonged periods of Stress and Anxiety can cause mental exhaustion that can lead to Depression. However, it is possible to suffer just from stress, or just anxiety, or just depression.
Depression is often triggered by a significant adverse event, such as the death of a loved one, redundancy or divorce, a history of abuse. Depression can also be part of other mental health disorders or the result of inflammation in the body.
Both anxiety and depression cause mental stress.
Many people alternate between feeling depressed and feeling anxious.
Depression focuses on negative memories or regrets about the past, and bad feelings about oneself.
Anxiety focuses on thinking about possible catastrophic events in the future and on finding avoidance strategies for the stressful situations that are feared.
Sometimes Stress is unavoidable because of difficult circumstances, but very often it is the ideas and beliefs a person holds about such situations that cause the stress. Effective treatment will examine and challenge the erroneous beliefs that cause the problem.
It is important to know that Stress, Anxiety or Depression are not personality traits. They are temporary mental and physical states that sometimes become prolonged beyond what is normal. Therapeutic counselling and/or hypnotherapy that can be used to restore normality and balance.