Decoding the Mind and Body’s Stress Signals

Concerns over money and inflation. Global conflicts. Racial tension. Violence. Surveys show high levels of stress across America. Headlines declare “Americans are besieged by stress.” Are you feeling it too?

Stress is all too common in society. It’s important we increase awareness of stress, its effects, and how we can find more peace.

What Is Stress?

Stress involves mental tension or worry over challenging situations. Stress stems from external pressures as well as our own emotions, sometimes without us even realizing it. Most people face varying degrees of stress. We may feel anxious about life events or overthink problems. Communicating with loved ones can also spark stress.

Stress touches Americans of all ages. Children and teens handle school pressures, activities, and self-identity issues. Adults deal with work, relationships, and finances. Seniors manage health concerns, grief over loss, and at times loneliness.

Unresolved past issues often resurface as current stressors. If youth concerns were dismissed, it can be hard regulating emotions as an adult. That distress may now come out as mood swings, aggression, or unhealthy coping mechanisms. Stress builds over time.

Signs of Harmful Stress.

Daily stress is normal, but intense or prolonged tension takes a toll. When consistently irritable and overwhelmed, we’re less able to manage regular duties. Headaches, stomach problems, disordered eating and sleep can arise. Mood issues like anxiety or depression may develop too.

Chronic stress significantly impacts physical and mental health, wearing down immunity defenses. It’s linked with numerous conditions – heart disease, diabetes, arthritis. Prolonged strain also increases tendencies towards alcohol, drugs, and other unhealthy coping habits.

Studies connect childhood adversity with later illness. Stressors like frequent moves, parental separation, or experiencing/witnessing violence can contribute to subsequent chronic conditions. Even difficult but ordinary childhood situations seem tied to higher disease risk down the road.

Managing Stress Well

In her article “Stress Awareness…Because We All Feel It,” Suzanne Piotrowski, LIMHP, NCC discusses basic approaches to managing stress: “When we look at factors that affect our mental health, first we start with self-awareness. How can we be more aware of ourselves and our reactions and emotions? Sometimes we become very out of touch with our emotions or out of touch with our body, sending us signals about stressful things we are facing. 

In addition to raising our self-awareness, we take steps to talk to someone if we need to. If we need to talk through our feelings and circumstances, we get some help from an outside perspective. This may be a spouse, a trusted friend or a professional counselor—someone you feel safe with sharing your true thoughts and emotions. 

Practicing self-care is also how we manage our stress. How are we practicing self-compassion and taking care of ourselves? How are we letting ourselves express emotion over things that are stressing us out or are building up over time? We can be proactive in managing stress by understanding what triggers our reactions. We can learn to be realistic with ourselves when we need a little extra support or need to not push ourselves too much. 

Managing stress well is unique to each person, but baseline mental health and stress self-care includes:

  • Adequate sleep
  • Balanced nutrition
  • Exercise and recreation
  • Social connection
  • Meditation and mindfulness”

At Think Whole Person Healthcare, our integrative model seamlessly addresses both mental and physical health. We help patients minimize stress and live well through counseling, medicine management, and holistic care coordination. Let us guide you to greater enjoyment of life.

Whole Person Healthcare for Stress

At think, whole person healthcare uniquely equips patients to address stress. Our integrative model interconnects care and gives patients easy access to both mental and physical care all in one place. We simplify a process that is often overwhelming when fragmented across multiple providers. Accessing counseling while stressed can be difficult without coordination under one roof. The great thing about think is we have mental health counselors and a psychiatrist available to talk, manage medications and give you the extra support and guidance you may need. Our physicians and other healthcare providers communicate seamlessly with our Behavioral Health team so together we help you live with less stress and more enjoyment. 


Think Whole Person Healthcare is dedicated to keeping you healthy through preventative care and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. From that nagging cough to the mysterious leg pain, our physicians, advanced practice providers and specialists are committed to you and your family’s lifelong health and well-being. 

Our walk-in clinic treats anyone, even those who are not a think patient or do not have a primary care provider currently. To learn more about our comprehensive healthcare services, visit our Services page online and choose your own think medical professionals by visiting our Meet Your Doctor page. 

We help you stay healthy. Give us a call at 402.506.9000.

This article was written by ThinkPress based on “Stress Awareness… Because We All Feel It”by Suzanne Piotrowski, LIMHP, NCC. Read that complete article here: https://thinkhealthcare.org/stress-awareness-because-we-all-feel-it/#:~:text=Whole%20Person%20Healthcare%20for%20Stress&text=The%20great%20thing%20about%20think,and%20guidance%20you%20may%20need.

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