The Real Cost of Stress — The Personal Side

I recently read an item in a magazine about stress that went something like this…Being stressed causes your hair to fall out. And seeing your hair fall out in large amounts induces feelings of stress which causes more hair to fall out. I laughed out loud when I read this. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not laughing about people feeling stressed or seeing their hair fall out.  In fact, years ago I lost some hair during a stressful life season so I know firsthand what that is all about. I laughed because sometimes life is like that. You just can’t catch a break!

After decades of living on this planet I wish I could offer you some profound wisdom regarding stress, but really what I have found is quite simple. Life is stressful. We experience both good (planning a wedding) and bad (burying a loved one) stress throughout our lives. And while the universe, karma, God, destiny or whatever you believe in does give us breaks every now and again, we are never without stress for very long. 

The good news is that so much of the time stress (and the way it affects our bodies and minds) works to our advantage. It helps us finish projects at work, plan weddings, master new skills, care for sick relatives and stay up all night with sick babies. Stress helps us in both times of celebration and times of crises. However, left unattended for too long, stress holds the power to negatively impact our mental, emotional and physical health. Left unmanaged, stress interferes with and can even destroy our most intimate and treasured relationships.

No matter how old I get, I continue to need positive coping skills to weather the stormy seasons of life. When the waters of life begin to rise I need to remember my toolbox of coping skills, use them and also turn to members of my support system for emotional support. I have learned that if I don’t deal with my stress in healthy ways like exercise, meditation and eating well, I suffer mentally, emotionally and physically. And then as time progresses my suffering inevitably spills over into my relationships and damages those I love most. 

The best advice I have when it comes to stress is to regularly identify your stressors, learn positive coping skills and use these skills for self-care. Build a good support system–including a skilled and trusted psychotherapist–and rely on these individuals when you are feeling overwhelmed. Seek professional counseling to help manage your stress. Don’t wait! A licensed mental health counselor can help you learn coping skills like relaxation techniques and mindfulness. If you suffer with PTSD, Life Enhancement counselors are skilled in EMDR to help you as you learn to manage and reduce your stress level. Whatever kind of stress you are facing, a Life Enhancement counselor can help you. Please call Life Enhancement Counseling Services in Orlando today at 407-443-8862.


Yolanda Brailey