Our lives are hectic and complex, especially during the holidays. Demands and expectations of everyday life create a certain amount of stress, but when an unexpected event or tragedy occurs, our stress levels increase dramatically.

In order to cope, we must first recognize stress, and then find ways to reduce or manage it. There are numerous signs and signals we get when we are overly stressed. Not paying attention to the symptoms can result in serious damage to ourselves both physically and emotionally and to our relationships.

Tense muscles, clenched teeth, sexual difficulties, insomnia, headaches, stomach aches, and fatigue are some of the physiological indicators of stress. Certain behaviors can also be indications of non-controlled stress. They can include under- or over-eating, increased smoking and alcohol consumption, prescription and nonprescription drug use or abuse, pacing, emotional outburst, excessive absences or tardiness. Procrastination and lack of ability to concentrate may also be stress related.

A healthy lifestyle is important in managing stress, there are times when proper diet, rest and exercise are not enough. Sometimes major life changes are required to gain control of the stress. Can your stress level be managed with some simple adjustments? Or do you need to make major changes for your life in order?

Call the Center at 910-452-7370. Visit us at  “Like” the Community Counseling Center on Facebook.

Jonathan R. Kelley