6 Stress Myths You Might Believe

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Just about everybody deals with stress. But even though it’s a familiar part of our lives, we don’t understand it very well.

It’s true that stress is all around us, but you can plan your life so you’re not overwhelmed by it.

Should we care? Researchers say yes. Stress has been identified as worsening many physical illnesses, from heart disease to Alzheimer’s. When you cut back on stress, not only will you feel better, you’ll live a longer and healthier life. Take steps to combat stress by understanding these common myths:

Myth 1: Stress is the same for everyone.

Not true. We don’t all experience stress the same way. It’s different for everybody. You may be stressed out by a high-pressure job, while your coworker thrives on it.

Myth 2: Stress is always bad for you.

While we might think that no stress would lead to happiness and health, it’s not true. Stress itself — especially a little stress — keeps life in balance. What’s important is how we manage it. When we handle it well, we are productive and happy. Mismanage it, and we may fail or become even more stressed.

6 Stress Myths You Might Believe smallMyth 3: Stress is everywhere — you can’t do anything about it.

It’s true that stress is all around us, but you can plan your life so you’re not overwhelmed by it. An effective strategy is to set priorities and work on solving simple problems first, before tackling more complex challenges. When we succumb to stress, it’s hard to prioritize because all problems seem equally troubling.

Myth 4: The most popular stress-reducing techniques are the best.

Again, not true. Although popular magazines may claim to have the answers, no universally effective stress reduction techniques exist. We all have different lives, situations and reactions. A comprehensive stress management program tailored to your unique needs will work best. And don’t overlook self-help books. Many offer successful stress management techniques, which can help if you follow the program faithfully.

Myth 5: No symptoms, no stress.

Just because you don’t have symptoms doesn’t mean you’re not experiencing stress. And if you’re masking your symptoms with medication, you may miss the signals you need to reduce the strain on your physiological and psychological systems. Even though stress is a psychological effect, chances are you’ll experience it in a physical way. Common physical signs include feeling anxious, run down or short of breath. Feeling overwhelmed, disorganized and having difficulty concentrating are frequent mental signs of stress.

Myth 6: Only major stress symptoms require attention.

“Minor” symptoms — like headaches or stomach acid — are early warnings that your life is getting out of hand, and should not be ignored. Don’t wait for a major stress symptom, such as a heart attack, or it may be too late. Making lifestyle changes, like more exercise or a healthier diet, will pay big benefits in time, money and well-being.

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.

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