There is a lot of negative talk about stress these days and it is really easy to understand exactly why when you look at the information provided below. While stress is the body’s natural normal reaction as changes happen, its effects can be quite damaging. Stress leads to emotional, intellectual, and emotional responses. It is very important to manage stress for us to live a healthy life.
What we have to understand is that stress is completely normal. Our body is actually designed to react to and experience stress. As changes or challenges are experienced (known as stressors), the body produces some mental and physical responses. These sum up to what we refer to as stress.
The stress responses are helping the body to adjust to those new situations that appear. This means it can be positive. It has the capability of making us motivated, alert, and will get us ready to deal with danger. As a simple example, let us think about when you have a test that is coming up. Stress can help the body to stay awake for a longer period of time and work harder. However, stress can easily become a very serious problem when there are stressors that keep hitting you without periods of relaxation or relief.
Body Changes During Stress
Our autonomic nervous system is responsible for controlling breathing, heart rate, vision changes, and so much more. It has a built-in response to stress, which is what we talk about when we mention “fight-or-flight”. This is what helps your body to face those stressful situations that appear.
Whenever an individual is faced with long-term stress (what we commonly refer to as chronic stress), continued stress activation leads to serious body wear and tear. Emotional, behavioral, and physical symptoms quickly develop.
The most common physical symptoms stress brings in are:
- Trouble sleeping
- Chest pain
- High blood pressure
- Muscle tension
- Digestive problems
- Stomach problems
- Jaw clenching
- Weaker immune system
- Problems having sex
When you have too much stress in your life, you can also experience mental and emotional symptoms. The common ones are:
- Panic attacks
If you are faced with chronic stress, you can even develop some unhealthy behaviors that you use in order to deal with it, like:
- Drinking way too much alcohol
- Using drugs
- Compulsively participating in internet browsing, shopping, or sex
- Developing eating disorders
There are no tests that a doctor can use to measure stress. What you experience might not be as strong as what other people experience. The only individual who can determine exactly how severe stress feels is the individual experiencing it. The healthcare provider can only use some questionnaires in order to figure out exactly how much stress you are faced with and the way in which it is affecting your life.
When affected by chronic stress, the doctor evaluates the symptoms that appear. This can be treated to some extent. For instance, if you experience high blood pressure, diagnosis is possible, just like treatment.
How Can You Deal With Stress?
The big problem is that you cannot really avoid stress. It will appear sooner or later. However, you can keep stress from being completely overwhelming. Some strategies you can use every day are:
- Exercising whenever you feel that stress symptoms appear. Something as simple as a very short walk can be a huge mood booster.
- Setting daily goals. You can also set goals for the month or for the week. This helps to narrow the view and gain control in the long term.
- When the day is over, take some time to focus on the things you managed to accomplish. Do not think about what you did not do. Focus on what you did do.
- If things are bad, talk with a therapist. The healthcare provider can also offer some help to ease some of your worries.
How Can You Prevent Stress?
Countless daily strategies can be considered in order to help prevent stress, which is always a lot better than having to deal with its negative effects. Some options to consider are:
- Relaxation activities like tai chi, yoga, breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, and meditation. You can find several programs on the internet. There are also some smartphone apps, community centers, and gyms that have such activities listed.
- Make sure you properly take care of your body. Exercising, make sure you sleep enough, and eating right are going to help you to handle stress so much better.
- Practice gratitude and remain positive. The goal is to acknowledge your life’s good parts.
- Always accepting that there are things that are beyond your control. You basically want to find some new ways in which you can get rid of situations that you cannot change since there is no need to worry about them.
- Say no. This is a very important skill to have. If some extra responsibilities appear but you are too stressed or busy, just say no.
- Remain connected with those who manage to keep you calm, offer emotional support, or make you very happy. You can have a neighbor, family member, or friend who can listen. Stress becomes much less overwhelming when you talk about it.
The Length Of The Effects Of Stress
You can experience stress for the short-term or for the long-term. This depends on the changes that appeared in your life. Stress management techniques are going to help you to avoid many of the emotional, behavioral, and physical symptoms.
Going To The Doctor To Deal With Stress
Obviously, there are moments when we cannot do everything alone. This does include managing stress. Medical attention is highly recommended whenever you find yourself using alcohol to be able to cope, when you think about hurting yourself, or when you feel overwhelmed. The primary care provider is going to help you with medicine, advice, or could refer you to someone with more knowledge, like a therapist. Never postpone asking for help. Underestimating the negative effects of stress can only make your recovery more difficult.