Managing Stress

School’s back in session! With that comes early mornings, endless homework, and unrelenting
STRESS! Stress is a natural reaction that can serve useful in some situations while posing a dangerous
health risk in others. Feeling overwhelmed is not uncommon and Canada has a number of support
systems to ensure you are never alone with your stress.

Many people are familiar with the feelings that accompany stress itself. When the body identifies a
stimulus that may require extra resources to manage, the stress reaction is triggered. Stress reactions
utilize varying hormones to quickly communicate to the body and trigger responses to deal with a
stimulus. Stress can be necessary at times but can turn into a problem in and of itself if overused.
“Fight or flight” is a quintessential example of a stress response to an apparent perceived threat.
Other situations that bring about stress responses are family problems, homework deadlines, or
traumatic experiences.

Stress can be minor, or it can be intense. It can dissipate after a short while, or it can hang around as
a chronic burden. Stress can benefit the body by helping it respond properly to a problem. It can also
be damaging if it overwhelms a person beyond their capacity to cope or continues over a prolonged
period of time.

Distinguishing the difference between useful stress and harmful stress can be important. Regulating
the instances of unproductive stress or bad stress allow you to take personal control over it.
Productive stress can help encourage high achievement, enhance performance in fitness, and help
with focus.

Chronic stress refers to a stress response maintained by the body for a long period of time. Chronic
stress correlates with a large number of health complications, such as obesity, heart disease,
diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems, asthma…to name a few. Many studies have been
conducted to attempt to analyze the outcomes of chronic stress with strong connections between
long-term stress and cardiovascular disease being uncovered. Chronic stress not only exacerbates
these problems but has a proven tendency to encourage poor lifestyle choices like smoking or
excessive drinking.

Stress brings pressure that not only negatively affects health but can have a major psychological
effect that has been proven to diminish one’s ability to cope with difficult situations, also making
them more vulnerable to developing mental health conditions in the future.

Sadly, stress is not something we can eliminate; it is an uncontrollable part of our lives. One way to
cope with stress is to reach out and get help from others. has some excellent
stress self-care resources, apps and interactive activities that can help you build skills and develop
ways to manage stress –

We can make stress a less daunting part of life by acknowledging our own limits and ensuring we stay
within them while identifying particularly stressful influences and reducing them. Simple changes like
starting a regular bedtime routine or making changes to your eating habits can better equip your
body to manage stress.

If you are looking for ways to manage stress or you feel stress may have already taken a toll on your
well-being, schedule an appointment with one of our physicians. What’s more important than your

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