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How To Know If Your Stress Is Normal — Or If It’s Becoming Something More

In partnership with The Fresh Toast

Stress is a part of every person’s life. Still, it can be difficult to differentiate normal amounts of stress from the type that limits your life.

We all deal with stress, especially nowadays, when the world seems to be getting crazier and like there’s less in our control. But there’s a difference between normal amounts of stress, prompted on occasions, and the type of stress that’s a symptom of something more serious going on, like an anxiety disorder or depression.

This past year has been challenging for our mental health, so it’s normal for you to be dealing with a little more stress than usual. Still, it’s important to keep track of your symptoms in order to deal with the problem accordingly and to know if your levels of stress are normal or if you need the opinion and advice of an expert.

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Photo by Christian Erfurt via Unsplash

CNN spoke with a variety of experts on the matter, who provided some tips on how to notice the differences regarding the different types of stress. “If the worry is intrusive beyond the stressor, that’s anxiety,” said Dr. Cynthia Ackrill. “If the sadness is a mood that you can’t shift beyond the situation, that’s depression.”

While stress isn’t a condition in itself, its presence can make a condition worse and it could also be an indicator of general anxiety disorder, a condition that requires at least six months of consistent and elevated levels of anxiety in order to be diagnosed. Symptoms of a general anxiety disorder include trouble sleeping, restlessness, and difficulty

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Normal stress should occur when faced with a change, whether that’s a new job or a moving places. Once some time passes, the stress should diminish and it shouldn’t affect other areas of your life in impactful ways. If you’re relationships or work start to be impacted by your levels of stress it might be time to talk to someone, with the earlier you do it, the better.

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Stress can be managed by practicing a few helpful activities, like meditation and breathing exercises. Talking things out can also help, whether you’re doing it in therapy or simply discussing things openly with a friend or family member. Working out is also great for stress relief, channeling your energies into something, and allowing your brain to take a much-needed break.

Read more on The Fresh Toast

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