Feeling stressed again?

Maybe you're dealing with a teenager who just wrecked the car ... for the second time.

Or you might feel stressed about decisions: whether to take that new job or get married.

"Our basic lifestyle causes stress," said Dr. Lynn Maynes, a marriage and family therapist with LDS Family Services in Salt Lake City.

Among the basic causes of stress, she says, are "worrying about things you can't do anything about and taking on too many responsibilities." Other causes, she adds, include changes in lifestyle, lack of sleep, poor nutrition and the process of making decisions.

How do you know you're stressed?

Maynes cites sleeping problems, irritability, indecisiveness, problems with eating patterns, nervousness and feelings of insecurity.

"People with stress have physical problems and thought problems," she said. "People under a lot of stress don't unwind when they're asleep." They wake up even more stressed, and the high stress level continues to build throughout the following day.

They try to figure out how to handle more stress, so they cram relaxation time into their schedule. That doesn't work, she says. Simplifying a hectic lifestyle, although difficult to do, is the key.

Do you feel the stress level rising? Maynes offers these tips:

• Eat nutritious meals.

• Get some sort of exercise.

• Try to relax.

• Be aware of your stress level and consciously unwind.

• Balance life among emotional, physical, spiritual, work and recreational areas.

• Have more realistic expectations of what you can do.

• Learn to say no.

• Stop comparing yourself to others.

Maynes says members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have additional tools to fight stress.

They "need to incorporate spirituality into their lives with prayer, the scriptures, taking 15 minutes a day for quietness to evaluate what's really important in my life today," she said.

Allowing stress to go unchecked leads to other problems, she says.

"People get really mean to each other, they fight, get selfish, are critical of others" and feel that "it's all about me. They get very self-centered and get so wrapped up in all the doing — they get busy like a mosquito," she said.

Getting rid of stress doesn't happen immediately.

"The body doesn't just revert to a nonstressed state," Maynes said. "It takes awhile to unwind. If you've been stressed for a month, it takes awhile to nurture your body." — Robert Walsh