Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
When you find yourself feeling the bad effects of stress, you need to take action immediately. The sooner you begin the process of treatment, the easier it will be and the quicker you find relief and be back to your normal state.
The first step in the process is to try to identify the cause of the stress. Sometimes this is a known source such as a deadline at work, a pile of unpaid bills, or a relationship that is not working out. It can at times be more difficult to find the source of your problem.
Often, many relatively mild stressors occurring at
once can bring on the same stress as a larger problem or known source of
anxiety or worry.
Some people experience chronic and sometimes severe stress from events that occurred in the past (a condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder).
If you can identify the source of your stress, remove yourself from it or address the situation. That may be all that is needed to resolve the situation and your anxiety. Even if you are only able to get away for a few seconds or minutes, the break is important and can help you on the way to a more permanent solution.
This break can be accomplished by physically
removing yourself from the provoking situation (such as an argument) or
mentally removing yourself from the stressor (such as financial worries)
through a mental distraction, often called a time-out.
The point of these actions is to allow you a moment
to relax and formulate a plan for dealing with the problem at hand. Just
having a plan can be a great stress reliever. It gives you a set of positive
steps that you can work on to get yourself back to your baseline and out of
the stressful situation.
These steps should be broken down into tasks you can
accomplish easily. Working toward a goal is rewarding. It prevents the
hopelessness and lost feeling that can accompany stress and make it
If you are unable to determine the source of your stress, you need to seek outside help. Sometimes discussing your situation with family, friends, or a spiritual adviser can be helpful. If these routes are not successful, you should make an appointment with your doctor or a mental health counselor to help determine the source of the stress and rule out any potentially reversible medical causes of your stress.
Reviewed by Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP on 9/5/2012