If you have ever wondered about the cycle of stress, this diagram will help you. When stress hits, some automatic thoughts kick in that are usually negative or even catastrophic. These thoughts affect your mood in a negative way. The negative mood and emotions release very powerful stress hormones which create anxiety or depression or worse. If your life is out of balance or you do not have good, positive coping skills, maladaptive behavior sets in. 

Maladaptive behavior could be anything from anger or rage to drinking or drug use. Ultimately and over time, you will experience negative physical symptoms such as headaches, problems with blood pressure, more frequent colds or flu since your body is run down.

What is the answer? Learn to relax! Other options are well documented as helpful including exercise, good sleep, fun, yoga, massage, walking, prayer, meditation and a good social life. If you are experiencing symptoms of stress, it may be time for a mental check up. About 80% of all visits to a general practice doctor are stress related symptoms and problems. Get ahead of the curve and get your life in balance. Of course, psychotherapy can help.