Stress happens to all of us as a reaction to certain events or things you need to do, whether in your personal life or at work.
It’s your body’s reaction to a challenge or difficult situation.
Your body responds this way by activating the hormones in your nervous system. It creates more adrenaline and cortisol, and these new hormones are sent to the circulatory system.
Due to the increase in hormone levels, your heart rate and breathing increase, as well as your metabolism and blood pressure. Your blood vessels expand to let blood flow more quickly to your muscles. Your pupils dilate to improve your vision.
Your liver starts releasing stored glucose and thus energy levels in your body go up. Your body produces sweat to cool itself in the presence of this increased energy.
Read this, too: 7 Signs Your Stress Levels are Too High
The effects of stress: the good and the bad
When you’re anxious about a situation or something that you have to do, a little stress can actually help give you the alertness you need for the challenge ahead. This may be an exam, a test, preparing for an event, etc.
However, it isn’t always a reaction to specific, immediate things. It can also be a long-term state.
In this case, situations may produce low-level but long-lasting stress, and lead to problems. If these feelings last a long time, this is dangerous for your health.
Your nervous system senses continual tension and keeps itself activated to release additional hormones over a prolonged period of time.
As a result of this permanent stress, your body’s reserves run out. You end up feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. This will lead to a weakened immune system on top of other issues.
The effects of continuous stress can be very harmful to your body. Some people have anxiety issues that cause extreme reactions become increasingly frequent and turn small difficulties into crises.
When a person is often stressed or worried, it’s very possible that they’re suffering from anxiety. Anxiety often requires professional help.
Know the signs and symptoms
People who are overloaded with stress tend to show these symptoms:
- Constant pressure, confusion, and mental disorders
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Irritability and high sensitivity
- Melancholy, sadness
- Signs of physical disorders: stomach problems, headaches, chest pain
- Allergic reactions, asthma, eczema
- Trouble sleeping
- Drinking and eating in excess, smoking, using drugs
As you can see, not all people experience stress in the same way. Some people even get angry and blame others.
Other people who hide it may start to develop eating disorders or use illegal substances.
Many people with chronic illnesses also notice a worsening of their symptoms when they’re overly stressed.
Check this article out: The 10 Commandments of Fighting Stress and Fatigue
Tips for managing the effects of stress
The best way to fight stress is to learn how to manage the feelings that come with challenges, whether they’re good or bad.
You get better at managing stress if you practice it regularly, not only when you’re under a lot of pressure.
Knowing how to get rid of it and practicing this in low-stress situations can help you get through harder situations.
Here are some tips:
- First and foremost, don’t overload yourself with too many activities. Focus on one or two at a time and prioritize.
- Be realistic and conscious of your own limitations. If you need help, it’s always best to ask for it.
- Next, make sure to sleep well. If you sleep as much as your body needs, both your body and mind stay healthy. This way, they’re equipped to handle negative situations.
- Learn to relax. One way to do this is to get in the habit of doing simple breathing exercises.
- Take care of your body. Regular exercise helps control the effects of stress.
- Pay attention to your thoughts, perspectives, and attitudes to your everyday problems. Over time, you can learn to positively change these.
- Finally, learn to solve small problems. Fixing those little problems will help you manage stress better. However, if you avoid them, it will make you feel like you have no control over the situation. Thus, you’ll feel even more stressed.
- Analyze the situation calmly, think about the options you have, and take the steps that are necessary to solve the problem.
Principal image courtesy of wikiHow.com