We've all heard the saying, "The best defense is a good offense".  This holds true in many areas of our lives; coping with negative stress can certainly be a struggle, and a winning strategy for any battle starts with the same idea: know your opponent.  Below is a list of some common misconceptions that many people have about both stress and stress management. 
 
1.  Feeling overwhelmed means I'm weak.
 
No...it means you're human.  Everyone gets overloaded sometimes, and it really does take a stronger person to ask for help than it does to carry the burden alone.  Anyone can push something away and refuse to deal with it - that's not particularly difficult.  It takes strength to recognize how you are feeling and get help when it's needed.       
 
2.  All stress is bad for you.
 
Not at all.  Some stress is necessary for getting through your day; it's when the stress builds up and pushes you past your peak that it becomes troublesome. 
 
3.  The best way to deal with it is to just ignore it, and it will pass. 
 
Ignoring your stress is a dangerous thing to do.  Not only does stress affect your mental and emotional well-being, but it can wreak havoc on your physical health as well.  So many health problems can be directly caused or exacerbated by high stress levels - did you know that between 75 - 90 percent of all doctor's visits are for stress-related symptoms?  Stress is also linked to the six leading causes of death in American adults: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide.     
 
4.  There's nothing you can do to avoid stress; it's just a part of life.
     
True - but remember, we don't want to completely avoid stress in our lives...if there was no stress at all, we'd be dead!  We don't want to eliminate it, just manage it - and there are actually many things you can do to help maintain lower levels of stress in your day-to-day life.  Effective problem-solving techniques and planning can go a very long way towards keeping your stress levels down.  Professional stress management counselors are specially trained to help people learn new ways to manage their daily stresses, no matter what the cause. 
 
5.  No symptoms, no stress.
 
Lack of obvious symptoms does not necessarily mean lack of stress.  Medication - especially self-medication via alcohol or other substances - can mask the signals that your body is trying to send to
let you know that your stress is having an adverse effect on your health.