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Breaking the Cycle: Recognizing and Addressing Stress

Stress is a common issue that can sneak up on just about anyone. Left unaddressed, it can lead to anxiety, depression, and physical symptoms like headaches, upset stomach, and trouble sleeping. Living with chronic stress can be exhausting and draining, affecting our relationships, work, and overall quality of life.

It can be hard to recognize stress in ourselves. Society often praises busyness and achievement, making it seem normal to be stressed. Our own coping mechanisms can also mask early signs, leading us to believe everything is fine until it's too late.

This is why many people only notice something’s up when their bodies are no longer functioning or they so overwhelmed they're unable to cope. Even then, they might not connect their symptoms to stress. Unfortunately, this can lead to a cycle where they treat their symptoms—like headaches or irritability—instead of dealing with what is underneath or causing the stress itself.  In this cycle, it is easy to chase after solutions that never quite work, leaving the person feeling stuck, frustrated, and out of options.


Stress can show up many different ways.  Becoming familiar with them empowers us to seek help BEFORE they run our mental and physical health into the ground.

  • Thinking Symptoms: Stress can show up as constant worry, forgetfulness, or difficulty concentrating. If you find yourself unable to focus or constantly feeling on edge, it might be a sign of underlying stress.

  • Emotional Symptoms: Feeling anxious, irritable, or overwhelmed can be signs of underlying stress. Stress can also manifest as a feeling of numbness or detachment from your emotions. Pay attention to how you're feeling emotionally, as it can be a clue to your stress levels.

  • Physical Symptoms: Stress can manifest in physical ways, such as headaches, muscle tension, or digestive issues. High heart-rate and lowered immunity are also hallmarks of long-term stress. If you're experiencing unexplained physical symptoms, it's worth considering whether stress could be a factor.


  • Recognize the source: Take some time to reflect on what might be causing your stress. Is it work-related, relationship issues, or something else? Understanding the source of your stress can help you address it more effectively.

  • Practice deep self-compassion: Instead of blaming yourself for feeling stressed, practice self-compassion. Remind yourself that stress is a natural response to perceived threat and that it's okay to feel this way.

  • Engage in deep breathing exercises: Deep breathing helps calm the nervous system and resource your thinking brain (the neocortex) with the oxygen it needs to function effectively. Practice deep breathing for a few minutes each day to help manage your stress levels.

  • Talk to someone: Share your feelings with a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional. Sometimes, just talking about your stress can help lighten the burden.

  • Seek professional help: If you're feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with stress on your own, don't hesitate to seek help. A professional can provide you with the tools and support you need to manage stress effectively.

Recognizing and addressing stress early can prevent it from taking over your life. By paying attention to your body and mind, you can also take steps to manage existing stress to improve your overall well-being. Don't wait until you're in full breakdown mode to take action—start today to break the cycle of stress and live a happier, healthier life.


If you are struggling with stress, self-beat up or negative self-talk please reach out, or consider joining the Permission To Shift HUB, where for only $7/mo you will receive the training, tools, resources and community you need to build confidence, reduce or eliminate the underlying causes of stress and create a life you can’t wait to wake up for. Learn more here:

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