Bookmark and Share

Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Office Hours with Dr. Jim > Stress and Single Parents

Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.

Symptoms of Stress in Single Parents

Quick Access:
What Symptoms are Associated with Stress in Single Parents

What are the symptoms of stress in single parents?

This is perfect question to answer, since it follows up on the previous installment. People generally experience higher levels of stress today than they did 20 years ago. My research has revealed some interesting findings. First, stress reactions in single parents appear to be systematic. There emerges a hierarchy of stress symptoms that is the same for men, women, young and old. This hierarchy is composed of four major stress levels:

Normal – the lowest level, defined by the normal ebb and flow of slight physical and psychological stresses.  Overall, few, if any, symptoms bother the person.  This is not to say that from time to time the person doesn’t feel lonely, a little worried, or hesitant about getting back into the dating game. But for the most part the person is fairly relaxed about the curve balls life throws. There are no physical symptoms or emotional hang-ups serious enough to keeping the person from functioning well as a parent, an employee, or a single adult in search of new relationships.

Unsettled – a slightly elevated level of stress, defined by a mixture of optimism and pessimism. The person likely feels happy more often than not, but the stress is clearly starting to get to the person. Indeed, there’s a good chance the person is consistently feeling overwhelmed by circumstances. Such feelings likely also manifest through a few noticeable physical symptoms like spontaneous waking early in the morning or a generalized fatigue. On top of this, the individual is having a more difficult time relaxing than before. Nervousness increases, sometimes building into full blown anxiety. While this tension can stem from any number of sources, it is especially noticeable when the person is in social situations that involve meeting new people, or when you take the first steps toward reviving a dating life.

On Edge – a moderately elevated level of stress, indicating that stress has gotten out of hand for the person. Being around others can improve such a person’s mood, but the symptoms of stress are largely at an unhealthy level. Negativity dominates, and strong and consistent feelings of depression, anxiety, and tension ensue. Physical symptoms become worse, and the person may start trying to medicating himself or herself with over the counter medications or alcohol or other substances in an attempt to feel better. But self-medication does nothing more than provide a short-lived relief from symptoms, while creating or contributing to other problems in the long run.

Super Stressed – the highest level of stress, defined by clinically significant physical and psychological symptoms. The combination of tension and feelings of hopelessness or anger can encourage outbursts towards others, and even harm towards oneself. Sadness and depression seem to be severe, resulting in constant crying for some. Anger pointed inward has evolved to self-hate, and physical symptoms have escalated into actual illness at this stage. Overall, those experiencing this intense level of stress typically find they have an extremely limited ability to function in daily life. It is often obvious to family and friends that the person needs professional support in order to cope.

People with low levels of stress often can rely on their own resources to relieve stress, while people at high levels of stress need a combination of self-reliance and social support. It is important thing to gain a sense of control and accomplishment – while at the same time surrounding yourself with people and resources that reinforce this.

Here are ten additional tips to help reduce stress in your daily life:

1) Make yourself at home
Personalize your workspace. Surround yourself with photographs of home, posters from favorite movies or plants and flowers. Familiar, homey-objects help relax tensions.

2) Keep toys on your desk
Having something physical and mental to do at the same time helps reduce anxiety.

3) Tackle the most stressful tasks first
As we become more tired, our stress defenses go down, so it’s best to handle the most stressful events when your body is most alert and rested.

4) Resist the urge to multi-task
Reduce the number of balls you’re juggling and reduce the tension and stress. In fact, recent research shows that multi-tasking can be very ineffective.

5) Replace the phrase “I have to . . .” with “I get to . . .”
Even the most miserable of tasks seem easier and less stressful if you get to do them. By removing that feeling that you “have” to do something, you’ve reduced some pressure and stress.

6) Cut out the coffee, hot chocolate, and soft drinks
Caffeine causes anxiety and increases the perception of stress.

7) Drink some orange juice.
Scientists have discovered that vitamin C can reduce the production of stress hormones. Eat an orange, drink some orange juice, take a 200 mg. supplement, or eat other foods rich in vitamin C like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, caulifower, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, strawberries, grapefruit and cataloupe.

8) Eat a sweet
When you’re feeling really stressed, take a minute and eat a bite or two of candy (watch out for chocolate, which has caffeine in it). Researchers have found that stress levels go down when we consume sugars.

9) Exercise
Getting away from sources of conflict and exercising for just a couple minutes can reduce stress remarkably. If you can get away for a walk, that’s even better. Get some oxygen into your body by breathing deeply. If you can stop and breathe deeply for ten minutes a couple times a day, you can reduce your stress dramatically.

10) Sing to yourself on the way to and from errands
Or sing any time you’re feeling stressed. This tip does double duty, music and singing relaxes the body and by singing you breathe more deeply. Depending on your voice, however, you might create more stress from the people around you.

Related Links:
» Online Dating for the Single Parent

> - The best approach to find the one. <

All Online Dating Magazine content, including the content on this page,
is © copyright by Online Dating Magazine and may not be
republished or reused in any form. You do have
full permission to link to this article.

Do you agree or disagree with this article? Have
more to add? Submit a Letter to the Editor today or post a comment below.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Privacy Statement | Code of Ethics Statement
Bookmark Online Dating Magazine at

>View Online Dating Magazine Singles Travel Adventures<

Online Dating | News | Columns | Features | Dating Services | Niche Dating
Online Dating Directory | Dating Humor | Quick Tip Articles | Online Dating Industry
Industry History
| Online Dating Reviews | Reader Reviews | Dating Videos | Book / DVD Reviews
Reader Letters | Self Improvement | Experiences | Newsletter | Interviews
Top 10 Lists | STD Info Center | About Us | Advertise
Media Center
| FAQ | Search | Contact | Dating Promotions

Dating Cartoons | Dating Jokes | Funny Dating Videos | Dating Games

Online Dating Magazine Needs Your Help!

All content on this Website is ©copyright by Online
Dating Magazine. All Rights Reserved. The content
on this site may not be reused or republished.

Are you an online dating site Webmaster? If so...
If you are looking for free dating content you can republish, click here



Advertise on
Online Dating Magazine



Stay Up to Date:

Follow Us on Twitter

Follow Us on YouTube

Follow Us on Facebook


10 Most Viewed Articles:

Online Dating Tips
Opposites Attract
Online Dating Safety Tips
Rose Colors
Guys are Weird
Dating Games
Online Dating Reviews
Creative Date Ideas
Long Distance Relationships
Dealing with a Breakup

Other Resources:

These links will take you away from Online Dating Magazine.

Google (Google Your Date)
Research Dating Service)

MailOrderBride Guide

Note: Online Dating Magazine does not sell text links anywhere on the site, so please don't email asking about text links. Any links we have are affiliate links, resources we find useful, links to other sites we run or long-time magazine sponsors. We do have graphic ad options in our Advertising section.