Reviewed by Whitney White, MS CMHC, NCC., LPC
When someone is feeling stressed out, they often want to verbalize it. After all, we know that talking about our feelings is helpful, but it can sometimes be hard to find the words. This can be frustrating, and it can hold people back from getting things off their chest. If you're reading this, you might be wondering how to express your feelings of stress in the most effective way possible. Finding a synonym for stress that fits your unique situation can help you express your feelings and confidently and concisely reach out for support. Here, we'll cover the meaning of stress, synonyms for stress, and how to get stress support.
What Is Stress?
There are multiple definitions of the word stress that are used in different contexts. In this article, we're referring to stress as it relates to the mind. So, in this context, stress refers to mental, emotional, or psychological tension. There's a vast range of potential causes for stress in this context. You might be stressed out because of work, school, relationships, finances, internal thoughts, world events, or something else.
It might be hard to find a synonym for emotional or psychological stress because this is not the only meaning of the word "stress." Stress can also refer to emphasizing or highlighting something (for example, "I want to stress the importance of this topic") or placing physical pressure on something (for example, "I stressed the material until it broke").
What Is The Best Synonym For Stress?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of a synonym is "one of two or more words or expressions of the same language that have the same or nearly the same meaning in some or all senses." Some synonyms or other words for stress include pressure, strain, and tension. Someone might also use terms like worry, or overwhelm, depending on the circumstances they are describing. The best synonym for stress is the one that you feel fits your situation the most. Here are some examples of how to use common synonyms for stress in a sentence:
If you're feeling stressed about work or school, you might say, "I'm feeling a lot of pressure to do well, and it's getting hard for me to manage."
If you're feeling stressed about arguments or discourse in your family life or interpersonal relationships, you might say, "I feel a lot of tension when I'm home, and it's wearing me out."
If you're stressed about your responsibilities, you might say, "This has put a strain on me."
Of course, these are only some examples. You can use these terms in any way that they fit your circumstances and help you to express yourself. You might also say something like, "I'm stressed out because I feel like there's too much on my plate."
What's A Synonym For Stressed?
If you want to express to someone that you're stressed or feeling stressed out, you might want to use a synonym for "stressed" instead of "stress" to further explain how you feel. Some synonyms for the word "stressed" include pressured, tense, strained, or taxed. Someone might also say that they're overwhelmed, distressed, or burdened, depending on the situation. Here are some examples of how to use these synonyms in a sentence:
If you are stressed and overwhelmed, you might say something like, "I am feeling physically and emotionally taxed."
If you struggle with guilt and are stressed out because of your feelings of guilt, you might say something like, "I am burdened by my feelings of guilt."
If you feel as though your family is putting pressure on you to succeed, you might say something like, "I feel pressured by my family."
Again, the way that you express feeling stressed is up to you. If you are 100% sure what you are feeling, you might consider using a tool such as a feelings wheel that can help you to identify your exact emotions. Once you identify that you are feeling stressed out, you can make conscious actions and choices to help you navigate your feelings of stress or your stressors.
What's An Antonym Of Stress?
An antonym is a word that has the opposite definition of another word. Two common examples of this are that the antonym of "right" is "left," and that the antonym for the word "big" is "small." They are opposites. Another example might be "horrible" or "awful" vs. "great" or "fantastic." Some antonyms for stress would be "relax" or "calm." You might wonder why this is helpful when it comes to expressing your feelings of stress. When you are stressed, you might use antonyms of the word "stress" to express that you want to find relief. For example, you might say, "I'm trying to find healthy ways to cope and calm down when I'm feeling overwhelmed by stress."
Research On Stress
Stress is a prevalent issue in the United States and other countries. Here are some research-based facts on the stress that may surprise you:
- According to the American Institute of Stress, 77% of people experience physical or somatic symptoms related to stress regularly, whereas 73% of people experience emotional or mental feelings of stress regularly.
- A 2017 research study conducted by the American Psychological Association or APA noted that top stressors in the United States include our nation's future, money (finances), work, the political climate, and violence or crime.
- 33% of people in the United States would consider themselves living with extreme stress levels or extreme stress.
- Fatigue is one of the most common physical or somatic symptoms of stress, followed by headaches, an upset stomach, and muscle tension.
- Anger or irritability is the top emotional or mental symptom that people experience in the United States.
- The coronavirus is a new yet pervasive stressor worldwide. According to the APA, almost one-half of parents who have kids under 18 indicate that their stress related to the coronavirus is high.
- According to the APA, 44% of people aged 18 and above report that they walk or exercise for stress management, where 47% listen to music, and 37% spend time with family or friends. This is one stress-related statistic that we can take as good news!
Stress Vs. Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is sometimes used as a synonym for stress, and in some cases, a person may indeed be both anxious and stressed. However, they are not necessarily the same thing. Specifically, anxiety disorders and stress are two very different things. Anxiety disorders are diagnosable mental health conditions. While all of us feel nervous or stressed out from time to time, not all of us meet the anxiety disorder criteria. If you believe that you may have an anxiety disorder, it is important to reach out to a medical or mental health professional who can assess your symptoms and provide you with individualized care.
How Does Stress Impact A Person?
Stress is something that we all encounter from time to time. As a result, it can be easy to brush feelings of stress off by saying, "it could be worse," or "everyone feels stressed; why should I complain?" However, stress can have both long-term and short-term health implications, and if it's left unmanaged, it could be detrimental to your wellbeing. Short-term stress implications include headaches, GI distress, fatigue, trouble sleeping, and an increased risk for irritability. Long-term health risks affiliated with prolonged stress include an increased risk of high blood pressure, continuous insomnia, an increased risk of heart disease, continuous GI issues, and an increased risk of depression and other mental health conditions. It can also impact your interpersonal relationships, especially if the stress starts to affect your interactions with others, your performance at work and school, and even your immune system. That said, it's not all bad; the positive to all of this is that support for those facing stress is out there.
Getting Support For Stress
Seeking therapy or counseling from a mental health professional can help you to cope with and manage stress. Forms of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT, benefit those who attend therapy or counseling for stress. For all guidance regarding treatment or specific forms of mental health treatment, please consult a licensed medical or mental health professional.
Sometimes, time management and other practices related to one's lifestyle benefit an individual who's hoping to manage stress more effectively. For example, if your stress is related to work (one of the most common stressors in the United States), time management skills could be advantageous. Social support is also known to help with stress relief.
If you're interested in speaking with a mental health professional about stress, there are a number of routes you can take. If you need help finding a provider, you can use the search tool on the Mind Diagnostics website, which is easily located on the upper right-hand section of your screen when you're on the website. Other options are to contact your insurance company to see who they cover, ask your doctor for a referral, or to get started with an online therapy company. Regardless of what you choose, reaching out is something to be proud of. Stress is a common concern, and it's nothing to be ashamed of.
Take The Mind Diagnostics Stress Test
Is stress affecting you negatively? While it is not a substitute for medical or mental health advice, the Mind Diagnostics stress test can help you see if stress or symptoms of stress are impacting your life. The tests on the Mind Diagnostics website are free, fast, and confidential. Click here to take the Mind Diagnostics stress test, and remember that if you're facing stress, stress management is possible, and you don't have to go through it alone.