The Real Cost of Stress – The Practical Side

Do you know anyone who would say they are not stressed? I can honestly say I do not know any one person who does not have stress in at least one life area. Stress can be good when it helps us finish a project, master a new skill or rescue someone in danger. But prolonged stress is detrimental to our mental, physical and emotional health. Stress can cause headaches, insomnia, upset stomach and more frequent physical illnesses overall due to a weakened immune system.

Prolonged stress can lead to anxiety, depression, panic attacks, substance abuse and many other mental health problems…not to mention the toll stress takes on our relationships. Anyone who has weathered a season of stress with a loved one can attest to the pressure stress (good or bad) places on relationships.

Because stress is so common in our everyday lives, it is important to regularly assess our sources of stress and how we are coping with them. The easiest way to do this is make a list. Make a list of all the things that cause stress in your life. Then make a list of how you deal with your stress. First, are there any stresses you can eliminate? If so, do it. Second, what do your coping skills look like? Meaning, what do you typically do when you are stressed? Do you exercise, talk to friends and eat well? Or do you eat poorly, stay up too late and/or watch too much TV?

Everyone needs a tool box of positive coping skills to navigate life successfully. However, sometimes we are so stressed, anxious or depressed it feels impossible to even think of anything positive to do, much less do it. This is when the expertise of a trained Orlando mental health counselor comes into play. A psychotherapist first provides understanding, empathetic and unconditional support during seasons of stress. Then she joins with you to identify how to address your specific life challenges. As you learn and practice new positive coping skills, you will learn to better manage your stress level both now and in the future.

Finally, if you are feeling stressed it is vital that you speak with an individual, couple or family therapist as soon as possible. The longer you are stressed, the greater the toll will be on your mental, emotional and physical health…AND on your relationships. Stress first affects us. And then, left untreated, it spreads into the other important relationships in our lives. 

Whether your stress is from something as positive as wedding planning or a result of something as difficult as the death of a loved one, a licensed mental health counselor can help you. The sooner you learn to manage stress well in your life, the happier and healthier you will be. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to make an appointment with an individual, couples or family therapist.


Yolanda Brailey