Stress and Anxiety

Anxiety- and stress-related disorders
are the most common emotional problems
that Americans face today.
The good news is that these disorders are highly treatable with counseling


Modern life is exceedingly busy and full of hassles, frustrations, and demands. Stress results when we try to adapt to the constant changes, challenges, and pressures of life. Some of the most common sources of stress include job, family, and parenting demands, changes in relationships (especially divorce), the death of a loved one, unemployment, financial difficulties, and medical issues.

Stress can lead to constant worrying, anxiety, negative thinking, sleep problems, irritability, panic attacks, cutting, depression, social isolation, over eating, and substance abuse. Chronic stress can exacerbate of any type of pain and contribute to medical conditions such as heart disease, digestive problems, headaches, and backaches


Anxiety, often manifested by jitteriness, shortness of breath, racing thoughts, excessive worrying, butterflies, muscle tension, and panic attacks, is certainly a common reaction to stress. Some people, however, experience uncomfortable amounts of anxiety even when they are not dealing with high levels of stress. These people may have dealt with anxiety for years, perhaps even since childhood, and may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.

Common anxiety disorders include panic disorder, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). No matter which type of condition a person may have, it is important to know that anxiety is the most treatable emotional disorder.

Treatment of Stress-Related and Anxiety-Related Disorders

With education, many people can learn to cope with stress and anxiety on their own. Other people need the help of a skilled, licensed professional.
Learning to manage stress and anxiety might include:

  • Identifying and learning to cope with the sources of stress and anxiety.
  • Changing the negative or self-defeating thoughts that perpetuate stress and anxiety.
  • Developing a healthy lifestyle including exercise, a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep.
  • Strengthening relationships and connecting with a spiritual life.
  • Developing hobbies and other pleasurable activities that give the mind a break from anxiety and stressful situations.
  • Developing a personal relaxation plan which might include deep muscle relaxation or yoga.
  • Engaging in mindfulness.

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