On Thursday March 24th, Steve gave a very informative presentation entitled “ Stress vs. Anxiety “
Steve began his presentation by discussing what the basic differences are between Stress and Anxiety. Steve advised usually the origin of stress is external, whereas anxiety is internal. Stress tends to be short term, and anxiety can be long term and persistent. Stress has a recognizable trigger, however a trigger may not be identifiable with anxiety. The basic emotion of stress is feeling overwhelmed, and the distress caused is mild. The basic emotion of anxiety is feeling worrisome and fearful, and anxiety can cause severe distress. The outcome of stress can be burnout, whereas you may experience some form of panic attacks with anxiety. Treatment for stress is building healthy coping skills, and coping skills along with therapy and medication may be needed for anxiety.
Steve advised that he has been experiencing a lot of stress at his job recently, and that he was grateful for his many outside activities that help him to balance out the stress. He advised that anxiety is often a response to fear or uncertainty, or doubts you may have about something that’s causing you stress. Anxiety normally will not stop when the external stressors stop, and sometimes more stress may cause more anxiety.
Steve also talked about differences between everyday anxiety, and a possible anxiety disorder. He advised normal anxieties can be a reaction to difficult times, and extreme anxiety usually comes out of nowhere. Everyday anxiety has a start and an ending point, where extreme anxiety can be ongoing and last for weeks or months, interfering with day to day life.
Steve gave a few techniques/ reminders to help reduce stress and anxiety;
1) limit caffeine and alcohol intake
2) make sure you’re getting enough sleep
3) get regular exercise
4) meditate or do yoga
5) set aside time for hobbies
6) practice breathing exercises
7) try keeping a diary of your feelings and things that cause you stress
8) open up to loved ones about your feelings
Also, Steve gave us a few fast-acting stress relief ideas that work well:
1) Get a hug from a loved one, or anyone you know who doesn’t mind hugs. Just the act of physical touch can relieve your stress. When you hug someone, oxytocin ( aka as the cuddle hormone) is released. This hormone is associated with greater happiness, and can lower stress levels.
2) enjoy aromatherapy…as it has real benefits of stress relief. It may help you feel more relaxed, and more present in the moment.
3) Meditation…can bring short term stress relief, as well as lasting stress management benefits.
4) Create artwork ..sometimes getting in touch with your creative side may be a great way to reduce anxiety or stress, such as adult coloring books, or maybe take up crocheting.
Steve advised the most important thing is to have social support, and having supportive people in your life is very helpful with stress management. This may mean reaching out to your network of friends, or if you don’t have a good support group, go find one, such as our great friends here at DBSA!
Make sure and join us at 7pm on Thursday March 31st, when Becki will present the topic “ Mindfulness “