Sunday Conversations

Sunday Conversations

By CEL Staff

This week’s Sunday Conversations with the Rileys is titled “Stressless.” In this episode, the Rileys explored how stress can affect our lives and various stress management techniques with special guest Jerome Dingle.

Dingle is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been in the field for four years. He currently works as a therapist at the Pastoral Institute and as a social worker in the Muscogee County School District, focusing on children with special needs. He also works with patients dealing with anxiety, depression, anger management, relationships, stress, self-image, and more.

According to Dingle stress is a situation that is either out of our control or challenging to manage and, that in some cases can lead to feelings of anxiety or depression. It can create overwhelming feelings that make it seem like you’re sinking and struggling to keep afloat, affecting your ability to function effectively.

When faced with an approaching stressful situation,  Dingle suggests looking for the positive side of things by shifting your perspective while also learning to accept that not everything can be controlled. Techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and exercise can be effective tools for staying calm and focused as you navigate challenges. 

Studies show that exercise reduces cortisol and adrenaline levels, two hormones associated with stress. This causes your brain to stimulate endorphins, which act as natural mood enhancers. Dingle says participating in enjoyable activities like hobbies during your leisure time effectively lowers stress levels. Not only do these practices help you manage stress, but they also bring a sense of calm and balance to your life.

Stress activates the body’s fight-or-flight response. This can lead to changes in your mood, immune system, digestive health, and cardiovascular system changes. Stress can lead to various health problems, with some of the most common including heart attacks, overeating, high blood pressure, and stomach ulcers. Not only can it have an extreme effect on your health, but according to a study published in The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, chronic stress over long periods can contribute to the development of pathological conditions such as anxiety and depression.

If you or a loved one are experiencing difficulties with stress management, anxiety, or depression, Dingle recommends seeking professional help. Especially if the depression becomes debilitating to the point where it interferes with your daily life. Local organizations in Columbus such as the Pastoral Institute, the Columbus Psychological Association, and the Bradley Center all offer some sort of mental health services, such as counseling and therapy. Dingle advises those struggling with their mental health to collaborate with a Psychiatric health professional to create a treatment plan and discuss medication options, if necessary, to help them regain stability and return to a normal level of functioning.

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