Stress and Major Life Changes  

How does stress affect your life?

“Don't let your mind bully your body into believing it must carry the burden of its worries.”—Astrid Alauda

In many ways, stress is healthy!  

Stress can help you feel motivated to turn in that paper, show up to work on time, and pay your bills.  Stress is a normal response that can help energize you to take action, move forward, and succeed in life.  Unfortunately, we tend to carry stress in abundance.  Life changes, whether positive or negative, can increase the stress you experience.  As stress begins to pile up, our physical and psychological health tends to deteriorate (Maisto et al, 2017; Nebylitsyn & Gray, 2013).  Americans tend to report high levels of stress (see Beiter et al, 2015), and so even here in beautiful Southern California, California, you may be at-risk for high levels of stress and worry.  

Stress is often related to stage of life and issues related to human development (Morris, Moore, & Morris, 2011). For example, a 15-year old may be stressed about a test, a 40-year old may be worried about finances, and an 80-year old may be concerned about physical health. Major life events can include anything from marriage, going to college, losing a loved one, or changing careers. Each person has unique stressors, and each person copes with stress differently.   

Long-term stress can lead to significantly poorer health, including significantly increased risk for obesity, heightened baseline blood pressure, decreased energy levels, increased cholesterol, and decreased intellectual capacity (Jastreboff et al, 2013; Nebylitsyn &Gray, 2013; Rönnlund, Sundström, Sörman, & Nilsson, 2013).  These consequences of stress tend to keep us from living healthy, normal lives. 

If you or a loved one struggles with stress management or is navigating a difficult life situation, contact us today! At Variations Psychology, our team is trained to help you overcome stress and worry through evidence-based treatment.  

What does stress look like?

Some common symptoms of stress include (DSM-5; Mayo Clinic, 2017):

  • Fatigue or tiredness

  • Headaches

  • Sleep issues

  • Irritability

  • Substance use (drinking, smoking, changes in diet)

  • Social withdrawal

  • Changes related to motivation

Although major life changes can bring about stress, people tend to adapt to the change (Lucas, 2007). However, sometimes stress and worry can lead to more significant mental health issues, such as Acute Stress Disorder, Adjustment Disorder, depression, or anxiety (Rönnlund, Sundström, Sörman, & Nilsson, 2013).  Often, these issues emerge due to difficulties with stress management.  

Coping with stress can be difficult.  Some lean on family and friends, others use drugs or alcohol to numb the pain.  Therapy can be an effective way to learn healthy methods for dealing with stress.  If you or a loved one is experiencing intense stress, or the results of long-term stress, contact us today.  At Variations Psychology, we strive to alleviate your stress and increase your resilience and ability to cope.    

How Can Variations Psychology Help?

Stress is a part of the human experience, but it often becomes overwhelming.  Our therapists can help reduce your burden and guide you to solutions.  

The Variations team is composed of specialists in the areas of Clinical Psychology, School and Educational Psychology, Child Development, and Psychological and Educational Testing. The experience and training of the team hosts a group of professionals that are ready to connect with you and provide specialized services tailored to your needs. These include individual therapy, family therapy, play therapy, IEP consultation, and psychological assessment.  

Within the therapy domain, we have providers who specialize in women’s issues, parent-child interactions, child development, and education. We tailor treatment to what you need and what you are hoping to improve as a result of therapy. 

At Variations, we believe you have the tools to change.  Do not let stress continue to damage your life.  Our team can help you overcome stress and find emotional freedom.  

Schedule an appointment with one of our specialists today! We are eager to connect with you. 

Interested in Therapy? Connect with Us!

If you are interested in therapy services, please contact us. We would love to talk with you and discuss what therapy could look like for you. 

Schedule an appointment with one of our specialists today!

More about Variations Psychology

Do you want to know more about us?

Take a look at our Specialists page and learn more about what we do. 

We are based in Newport Beach, California and love to connect with our community. We cannot wait to meet you. 


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental

disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Beiter, R., Nash, R., McCrady, M., Rhoades, D., Linscomb, M., Clarahan, M., & Sammut, S. (2015). The prevalence and correlates of depression, anxiety, and stress in a sample of college students. Journal of affective disorders173, 90-96.

Jastreboff, A. M., Sinha, R., Lacadie, C., Small, D. M., Sherwin, R. S., & Potenza, M. N. (2013). Neural Correlates of Stress-and Food Cue–Induced Food Craving in Obesity. Diabetes care36(2), 394-402.

Lucas, R. E. (2007). Adaptation and the set-point model of subjective well-being. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16(2), 75-79.

Morris, T., Moore, M., & Morris, F. (2011). Stress and chronic illness: the case of diabetes. Journal of Adult Development, 18, 70-80.

Maisto, S. A., Xie, F. C., Witkiewitz, K., Ewart, C. K., Connors, G. J., Zhu, H., ... & Chow, S. M. (2017). How Chronic Self-Regulatory Stress, Poor Anger Regulation, and Momentary Affect Undermine Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder: Integrating Social Action Theory with the Dynamic Model of Relapse. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology36(3), 238-263.

Nebylitsyn, V. D., & Gray, J. A. (Eds.). (2013). Biological bases of individual behavior. Academic Press.

Rönnlund, M., Sundström, A., Sörman, D. E., & Nilsson, L. G. (2013). Effects of perceived long-term stress on subjective and objective aspects of memory and cognitive functioning in a middle-aged population-based sample. The Journal of genetic psychology174(1), 25-41.

Stress Management. (2017). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from