The Stress Response

Stress, anxiety, anger, fear; when these emotions are intense or become chronic, our physical and mental wellness suffers.  In times of stress, we simply don’t have the time, energy, or motivation to practice self-care.  This can create a cycle of dysfunction that can be difficult to break.

Stress, by definition, “is a biological and psychological response experienced on encountering a threat that we feel we do not have the resources to deal with” (McLeod, 2010) 

Whether you have experienced an acute stressor (such as a car accident) or chronic stress (like emotional abuse in relationship), to some extent, you will experience a stress response.

The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) is responsible for the stress response, sometimes referred to as “fight or flight”.  This reaction triggers physiological and psychological changes.  In theory, these changes are intended to help the individual to best manage the stressful situation.  When stress response becomes chronic, the long-term impact of the fight or flight response can be detrimental to our wellness.

So, what can we do when we realize that we are experiencing stress?  We can choose to make time for self-care.  Self-care activities, coping skills, and relaxation exercises are an important part of mind-body wellness.  Not only does self-care combat the negative influences of chronic stress, but they are also a way to take control of your health.  Choosing to regularly practice self-care is empowering.


About the Author:  Danielle is a provisionally licensed mental health practitioner in Omaha, Nebraska. She is a sole proprietor at New Leaf Therapy Associates, LLC, and enjoys working with individuals and families.  Danielle utilizes trauma-informed techniques and mindfulness with her clients, helping them to feel empowered and more in control of their lives.
Phone: (402)980-6342

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