Stress and Anxiety

Stress is an inner-game thing. When you master your stress and make it you bitch, you will have and enjoy a healthier and happier life. But if stress masters you… well, you know the rest.

Stress is a symptom of negative emotions we experience. Stress is always rooted in fear, greed, anger, jealousy, envy, and hatred. Overwhelm, pressure, and deadlines usually some of the attributes of the triggering event that disrupts your comfort and peace of mind. The triggering event acts as a stimulus and starts a negative emotional response in your mind, which you experience as stress.

But, let us look ook one layer beneath your stress. What is the underlying emotion, or likely multiple emotions you’re experiencing while stressed?

Stress is closely related to the emotions of fear, sadness, and or anger. But on the subtler reactionary and responsive level, you’ll be surprised to find that; you are stressed because you are craving something or trying to avoid something. Craving and aversion are the underling processes beneath our experience of life and the driving forces of our decision making.

We can also look at craving and aversion from pain and pleasure perspective. You want things that feel good, that’s craving. And, you try to avoid things that cause pain, that’s aversion.

It does kind of make sense. When you are stressed, you think the trigger caused the stress. It’s his fault, or they did it, they caused my stress, which is true. But meanwhile, in your internal reality, inside yourself, when you’re stressed, on the base level of yourself, you’re trying to dodge something, or you ‘re clinging to something. After all, our experience of stress happens inside of us.

Stress is an inner-game thing. Stress also an everyday sport and you’re in it, you like it or not. You either win the game of stress or loos it, it’s your choice. In the sport of stress, only the winners get to enjoy the psychological and emotional satisfaction from deep relaxation and peace of mind, from overcoming of stress. And, if you’re craving a trophy, here take it. It’s proper breathing. Well, take a few deep breaths.

Be honest with yourself. How much do you know about stress?

Americans and Stress

Americans were asked about their stress and time pressures in 2017 a Dec. 4 – 11 Gallup poll. Eight out of ten Americans are stressed. 44% feel stressed frequently, and 35% feels stressed sometimes. 17% of Americans experiences stress rarely. And only 4% say they never feel stress.

The Biggest Stressors for Americans’ Are Children and Work…
Shouldn’t it be the opposite? Shouldn’t family and work be the source of our happiness?

Age is a significant factor when it comes to feeling stressed and time-pressured. People who are 50 and older less likely to say they feel stressed and lack the time compared with younger generations.
Relatedly, being short on time and feeling stressed are much more common experiences among employed Americans and parents of children under eighteen. Organically, work and family responsibilities and obligations have a pressuring effect on people, so the working parents are especially likely to feel always short on time and stressed out.

Defining Your Own Stress

They’re many definitions of stress. People have very different ideas about what stress is and how it is experienced. And I think that that’s just fine. We all experience stress in our own, unique way, specific to us. I also think it is a good idea to learn about stress, define your type of stress, and understand its characteristics. This will help you come up with proper counter-stress strategies and practical self-care treatment routines to address your stress adequately.

The only way you can learn about your stress is to examine it meditatively, kind of self-stress-analyses. Here are some excellent questions you can answer to do a brief self-stress-analyses. This small list will get you started, but come up with your own questions as well. And if you have some brilliant questions for self-stress-analyses, please email them to me at, and I’ll add them to this list. But, here are the questions:

Self-Stress-Analyses Questions

When do you get stressed?
How often do you get stressed?
Do you have a stress pattern?
What is the underlying emotion underneath your stress?
Do I get angry or scared when I’m stressed?
Where do I get stressed the most?
What triggers my stress?
Who triggers my stress?
How much do I really know about stress and how to properly handle it?
Am I doing enough to erase the negative effects of stress on my health?
What do I do in response to stress?
Can stress corrupt my judgment?
Do I have full control of myself when I’m stressed?
What happens to my willpower when stress hits my brain?
Is my response to stress physical, mental/logical or mental/emotional?
Can I tell if my attitude is off while I’m stressed?
What if the stress lasts for days and weeks and months or years, what will I do then?
What should I do about my stress?

But the two most important questions, in my opinion, that deserve a separate paragraph are: What is my repetitive stress response pattern? And. How can I disrupt, remedy, and recondition them repetitive stress response pattern?

By honestly answering these type of questions, you’ll gain insight about your stress-related triggers, conditioning, and your habitual behaviors. Based on that information, you’ll be able to arm yourself with proper stress management strategies to defend yourself against stress.

I’ll be the bearer of the bad news. I’m very sorry to announce that most likely the stress is never going away. But your ability to understand and manage stress can improve. Thus your stress will lose its potency.

Here are Some Common Definitions and Facts about Stress

Stress is a feeling of mental/emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel negative emotions like frustration, anger, sadness, or nervousness. Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand that’s attached with urgency, a deadline. When you are in stress, your body secretes cortisol.

Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands. It’s essential for helping your body deal with stressful situations, as your brain triggers its release in response to many different kinds of stresses. However, when cortisol levels are too high for too long, this can hurt your health. Your adrenal glands pump adrenaline, which raises your heart rate, your blood pressure, and increases the amount of sugar in your blood. These are all compliments of stress.

Another popular definition of stress is “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual can mobilize.” Most people consider the definition of stress to be something that causes distress.

We also should keep in mind that stress is not always harmful. In some cases, the increased pressure can result in increased productivity. A definition of stress should also embrace this type of healthy stress from a healthy dose of pressure.

People tend to focus on the definition of stress-related with negative feelings and emotions. But almost every definition of stress revolves around physical, physiological or biochemical responses, experienced and observed. A very comprehensive definition of stress that includes these and more is the biopsychosocial model of stress.

The biopsychosocial model views stress as products of biological characteristics (such as genes), behavioral factors (such as lifestyle, stress, and health beliefs), and social conditions (such as cultural influences, family relationships, and social support). It is complicated, but so are we. There are so many different aspects to us.

I like to look at stress through the bio+psycho+social model because it touches all three fundamental aspects of our life, internal, external, and the interaction of these two factors.

Types of Stress

Acute Stress

Acute stress is a common form of stress. It can be generated from a burst of demands and pressures of work or life. Acute stress happens due to anticipation of “what ifs” demands and pressures of the near future and the recent past. “What if I do this, and that happens? Or What if I did this, that would’ve happened?” Acute stress can be thrilling and exciting, but in small doses, too much of it can be exhausting.

Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is the ongoing stress that goes on for weeks, months years, decades. Chronic stress is the ongoing response to emotional pressures, suffered for a prolonged period, in which an individual perceives they have little or no control. It involves an endocrine system response, during which cortisol is released. This is the stress we tend to ignore or suppress down. If not addressed, this stress can affect your health, your body, and your immune system.

Symptoms of Stress

Physical symptoms of stress:
• Low energy
• Headaches
• Low immunity
• Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
• Aches, pains, and tense muscles
• Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
• Frequent colds and infections
• Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
• Nervousness and shaking
• Ringing in the ear
• Cold or sweaty hands and feet
• Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
• Clenched jaw and grinding your teeth
• Sleep problems, insomnia

Cognitive symptoms of stress:
• Mental exhaustion
• Constant worrying
• Racing thoughts
• Forgetfulness
• Disorganization
• Inability to focus
• Poor judgment
• Being pessimistic

Emotional symptoms of stress include:
• Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
• Feeling overwhelmed, feeling of no control or need to take control
• Having difficulty to relax and quieting your mind
• Feeling bad about yourself, low self-esteem, depressed
• Avoiding social gatherings

Behavioral symptoms of stress:
• Self-sabotaging behaviors, procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities
• Changes in appetite — either not eating or overeating
• Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
• Exhibiting more nervous reactions, such as nail-biting, fidgeting

How do our systems create stress symptoms?

Central nervous and endocrine systems

Your central nervous system goes into “fight or flight” response when triggered by stressful stimuli that cause fear. Your hypothalamus, part of your brain and a hormone producer, gets the ball rolling. Your hypothalamus sends a signal to your adrenal glands, located right above your kidneys, to release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones accelerate your heartbeat and push your blood, rushing to the areas that need it most, large muscle groups.

When the perceived fear is gone, the hypothalamus should tell all systems to go back to homeostasis, to normal non “fight or flight” state. But if the central nervous system fails to return to homeostasis, or if the stress trigger doesn’t get resolved, then the stress response will continue and become chronic.
Chronic stress then can affect behaviors like anger outbursts or suppression, overeating or not eating enough, alcohol or drug abuse, anxiety, depression, and panic attacks and social withdrawal.

Effects of stress on respiratory and cardiovascular systems

During stress, adrenaline and cortisol hormones affect your heart rate, cardiovascular systems, and breathing your respiratory system. During the stress response, your breathing gets faster and shorter. If you already have a preexisting breathing problem like asthma or emphysema, stress can make it even harder to breathe.

Under stress, your heart also pumps faster. Stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict and divert more oxygen to your muscles so you’ll have more strength. But this also raises your blood pressure. As a result, frequent or chronic stress will make your heart work harder for too long, thus causing more wear and tear of the organ. When your blood pressure rises, so do your risks for having a stroke or heart attack.

This is why it is vital to be aware of your breathing pattern, and practice at least deep breathing every day, especially if you’re stressed out.

Effects of stress on the digestive system

Under stress, your liver starts to produce extra glucose to give you a boost of energy. If you are under chronic stress, your body may not be able to keep up and process all the extra glucose. Chronic stress may increase your risk of developing diabetes.

The rush of hormones, rapid breathing, and increased heart rate can also upset your digestive system. You’re more likely to have heartburn or acid reflux due to an increase in acidity. Stress can increase your chances to develop ulcers and cause existing ulcers to act up often. Stress can also affect the way food moves through your body, leading to diarrhea or constipation. Experience nausea, vomiting, or a stomachache might also be part of a stress response.

Effects of stress on the musculoskeletal system

Your muscles tense up to protect themselves from injury when you’re stressed. This is how tension happens. They tend to release once you relax, but if you’re always under stress, your muscles may not get the chance to relax. Thus you might develop chronic muscle tension. Tight muscles cause headaches, back and neck pain, shoulder pain, sciatica, exhaustion, and body aches. Over time, this can set off an unhealthy cycle of stagnation and a sedentary lifestyle.

Effects of stress on sexuality and reproductive system

Stress can deplete us of positive emotions by exhausting our body and mind. It’s not unusual to lose the desire to do anything when you’re under constant stress. If stress continues for a long time, a man’s testosterone levels can begin to drop. This can interfere with sperm production and cause erectile dysfunction or impotence. For women, stress can affect the mood and emotion of sexual desire. Stress also can affect the female menstrual cycle and can lead to irregular, heavier, or more painful periods. Chronic stress can also magnify the physical symptoms of menopause.

Effects of stress on the immune system

Stress stimulates the immune system, which can be a plus for immediate situations. This stimulation can help you avoid infections and heal wounds quicker. But over time, stress hormones will weaken your immune system and reduce your body’s response to foreign invaders. People under chronic stress are more susceptible to viral illnesses like the flu and the common cold, as well as other infections. Stress can also increase the time it takes for you to recover from a disease or injury.

Help Is Available for Stress

Stress is a part of life and is not going anywhere. What matters most is to learn how to handle stress. And develop strategic stress management activities in your schedule. Yoga, meditation, calming walks, deep breathing sessions, massage, exercise, sleep, proper nutrition and hydration are all great place to start.

So how can we help?

In most cases, acupuncture, physical therapy, therapeutic exercises, chiropractic adjustments, and massage therapy can help to relieve you some of your chronic stress. Combination of manual therapy, somatic therapies, and relaxation techniques coupled with therapeutic exercise for conditioning of the tissue and posture will get you there. My style of clinical massage therapy works very effectively for stress and tension. People say they feel like finally, they can take a breather.

So, please give me a call or email let’s talk about your chronic stress and let’s determine if I can be of any help to you.

Usually, for the first treatment, people come in for a sixty-minute treatment to try and see if my massage style would work for them. And typically, they feel better right after the first visit. They leave my office with less stressed and with a bit bigger smile. For years patient’s feedback has been that after a clinical session with me, they feel better for a few days after. Based on your condition and my findings from the first visit, I’ll make recommendations for a treatment plan. I will also make suggestions about what else could be done to improve your chronic stress and anxiety build-up.

So, please give me a call at 732-766-0897 or email me at so we can talk about your chronic stress and hopefully help you feel better.

To learn more about Hayk’s Clinical Massage style and to make your clinical massage appointment in Cranford NJ call/text 732-766-0897 or email

Based on your requests and needs, every clinical massage session will be tailored and personalized for your specific needs and the results you desire.

By appointments only.
Finest quality guaranteed!

Hayk Zar LMT from Cranford New Jersey

Massage Therapy Techniques

For more info email/call/text and please check out