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Symptoms of stress derive from the mind and body’s response to stressful situations and range from mild to severe, and functional to dysfunctional. Examples include, but are not limited to: Lowered coping abilities, feelings of dread and depression, hopelessness, incapacitating anxiety, anger, worry, impaired work performance and personal relationships, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, irritability, and feelings of hopelessness and gloom.  All such symptoms could lead to exhaustion and burnout. In state of burnout that body and mind has lost its resistance to stress including immunity to mental and physical disease and illness.

Many people see themselves and mentally strong and above stress burnout. They function at prolonged low-levels of stress that do damage and erosion to systems of the body and mind, and struggle most from recovery. Stress at the burnout stage simply means that the person only has room for one more straw of stress on their back before collapse.   When in a burnout stage our resistance is gradually eroded. Often the erosion takes place below our level of consciousness, and we reach depletion one organ at a time. It is most frightening when these organs are our most vital ones.

The body and mind give signals and flags that let us know when we are over-stressed, however if we ignore them for whatever reasons, eventually it takes its toll. Our body and mind is built for stress but not for over extended periods of time without rejuvenation. Taking a break from stress is the key. However, in order to take a break, one must learn skills of relaxation and letting go.

When the body and mind are prepared for stress they are under threat and do not let go of preparation to deal with it that easily. That preparation is chemical as well as mental and physical. Often it is the chemical reaction that keeps the stress response alive long after we are removed from the stressful situation. Therefore in order to let go we must learn to do things that are counter to a stress response and we must learn to do this on command.  Just as we can make ourselves stressed simply by tensing our body and gritting our teeth purposefully, we can learn to relax our body by deliberately or forcefully taking a deep breath and relaxing our muscles.

Relaxation is counter to the stress preparation and response. You cannot be relaxed and stressed at the same time. They operate from two different nervous systems that are not compatible to each other. Learning to relax and taking time out for relaxation not only provides rejuvenation and energy to deal with daily stress, it also reduces the chemicals, such as corticoid and adrenalin, in the body that block access to rational thought and ability to find solutions to stressful situations. Learning to relax a prerequisite to managing stress and symptoms of stress.

*(PSM_info on Anxiety and Depression treatment)
 *(PSM_info on herbal alternatives to Manage Stress-symptoms)

Source: Personalized Stress Management: A Manual for Everyday Life and Work
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