Stress Illness Brochure (2)

Continuing with Part 2 of the Stress Illness brochure:

How Can You Find Out If Stress is Causing Your Illness?

Your doctor can examine you and do tests to find out what is causing your symptoms.  By studying the results, your doctor can usually tell if your symptoms are related to disease of a body organ.

Next, look at the information below to help you recognize stress in your life and what it might be doing to your health.  See if any of the five types of stress are present in your life.  If so, follow the suggestions for controlling stress and talk to your health care clinician about treatments that may help you.

The good news is that once the underlying stress is uncovered, there is almost always effective treatment available.  Recovery is possible, and so is living a healthy and productive life.

I. Stress In Daily Life

The first type of stress comes from things that are happening in your life right now, such as:

  • Difficulty in a personal relationship
  • Caring for the needs of others but neglecting yourself
  • Death of a close friend or family member
  • Troubles your children are having
  • Being hassled by your boss
  • Losing your job

Try making a list of everything that makes you feel scared, nervous or angry. Does the number of things on the list surprise you?  Is it possible that you have been so busy solving problems that you didn’t notice how much stress you had to deal with?  If so, just making this list may be your first step toward freeing yourself from the stresses in your life.

Next, ask yourself if you would feel less scared, angry or nervous if, every day or every week, you gave yourself some personal time for rest, relaxation and re-energizing yourself.

Some people think this is a great idea, but never do anything about it because they tell themselves to wait until things get less stressful.  Most of the time, though, things don’t become less stressful.  Instead of putting it off, try adding yourself to the list of people for whom you care.

The next steps are trial and error to find activities that give you joy and working to stop feeling guilty about taking this self-care time.  When you succeed you will find you can function much better in other areas of your life with a much lower stress level.

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