I think most of us know what stress is, after all we experience some form of it almost every day right? Work, kids, life! But simply put, stress is a reaction to a stimulus that disturbs your equilibrium whether mental or physical. There are quite a few physical disorders associated with stress, the most common being depression, stroke, hypertension, heart attack –just to name a few. There also less severe symptoms ranging from emotional (moodiness, irritability, depression); physical (aches and pains, diarrhoea, loss of sex drive); behavioural (self-isolation, neglecting responsibilities) and cognitive (memory problems, and anxiety). Stress costs the American industry more than 300 billion dollars per year.
What Causes Stress?
There are many different things that cause stress in our lives; financial issues, relationship problems, failing health etc. these things are all referred to as stressors. And while you might assume that stressors refer only to the negative events that happen, this is not the case at all; anything that puts high demand or pressure on you is a stressor, this could be planning a wedding, vying for a promotion or even purchasing a house–these high pressure situations are all stressors. It is also important to note that you can experience good or bad stressors from your body, thoughts and environment.
How Does Stress Affect Health?
It is perfectly fine to experience a bit of stress every now and then, after all the human body is designed to react to it. However, when people start to experience multiple and continuous stressful situations the build-up can lead to a host of health issues. It can even worsen certain diseases or symptoms (diabetes, skin conditions, depression, high blood pressure, heart problems, asthma, and anxiety). In addition the use of drugs, tobacco or alcohol is often used to relieve stress making the situation much worse. These substances actually keep the body in a stressed state instead of relaxing it.
Tips for Managing Stress
Eat Healthy- A well balanced meal can boost your energy and your mood.
Get away- This just means removing yourself from the stressful situation and doing something to put your mind at ease. Take a yoga class, listen to music in the park, get a massage; just do something to clear your mind.
Get adequate rest- Lack of sleep can have adverse effects on your mind and body; sometimes you feel stressed because you are not getting enough sleep.
Think positive- You’d be surprised how differently you’ll start to see the world if you put a positive spin on things. Life is hard, but there are also many wonderful things to be grateful for so focus on those things.
Get help- If your situation becomes too overwhelming for you to deal with on your own, get help immediately. Talk to family and friends, or take the professional route and consult a therapist or physician.