The Psychological Effects of Stress

stress kills

The fact is that stress is a needed response for our survival, it triggers the body and mind to prepare for possible danger, and that we need to handle the situation.

But long-term, constant stress, is linked to many negative health conditions, which create physical and psychological symptoms that are detrimental to our well-being.

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Stress is arguably one of the most silent killers on the planet, largely because people don’t realize something is going wrong, or they just don’t listen to their bodies and wait until something really goes wrong.

Chronic stress can lead to many health problems including heart disease and cancer. Many studies show it doesn’t matter if the stress comes from life-changing events or constant minor hassles. Do often you feel nervous or worried? Then it’s time to stop, take a slow, deep breath, repeat until you have calmed down.

But why does stress contribute to so many aspects ill health, ultimately leading to death?

It is because often it is untraceable. You may not realize you are suffering from stress overload.

Try Not To Not Sweat The Small Stuff, Because Repeated Sweating Over It Could Kill You

Many people get stressed while stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, worried about being late – which is a genuine concern, or, not being able to do what they wanted to in a timely manner. Feeling like that once in a while is not a big deal. But if events like these make you feel stressed all the time, and your response is that you are continually getting upset, this is when stress can become harmful and toxic.

stress prevention is easier than the cure

Stress Kills: Is Yours Out Of Control?

Look for these tell-tale signs:

Unexplained Aches And Pain About The Body

A little pain here and there is normal and should be nothing to get worried over, but it can spell a worrying trend when it occurs too often. And this is the case with being overly stressed all the time.

Muscular pains most commonly occur around the back, neck or shoulder areas, and may be attributed to poor sleep patterns, although it is not always the case. Medication to treat the pain many only yield temporary relief, and should not be relied upon as a long-term solution.

Workplace stress may contribute up to $190 billion in health-care expenses and over 120,000 deaths – each year.

Frequent Colds And Infections

One thing associated with high-stress levels is the negative effect on immunity. Cortisol suppresses the immune system and leaves the body wide open to infection. This is especially troublesome during flu season and necessitates that extra precautions be taken (such as increasing anti-oxidant food consumption).

Stress Causes Poor Sleep Patterns

Insomnia is usually one of the first signs to appear when you are over-stressed, as cortisol does not work by itself. In fact, it recruits the neurochemicals adrenalin and noradrenalin, which enhance awareness, and energy levels.

This is an important function in the mornings when you need that “get up and go” boost, but not at night when you should be unwinding. Use of heavy stimulant based supplements (such as with caffeine) too late at night will cause this to occur.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure involves multiple pathways all experiencing dysfunction for its development, with cortisol happy to oblige. High blood pressure, in this case, is precipitated by increases retention of water (which increases blood volume), faster heart rate, and blood vessel constriction.

All these factors increase blood pressure, so care needs to be taken to manage cortisol and stress levels.

Loss Of Sex Drive

Both men and women require a normal level of testosterone to modulate sex drive, but this important hormone is suppressed when levels of the stress hormone cortisol are high. Cortisol and testosterone share a negatively inverse relationship, meaning that as one goes up, the other goes down.

If this loss of sex drive occurs in a young person, who previously displayed normal behavior, it can be a clear indicator that individual is over-stressed.

Prevention Is Always Easier Than The Cure

Frequent Outbursts Or Mood Swings

It can be hard to maintain a level head when stress levels are high, causing you to lash out to anyone who seemingly irritates you. This is not normal behavior, especially if the individual was previously very level-headed. If it does occur, it may be best to reduce workload and spend more time with family and loved ones in a bid to relax.

Depression Or Feelings Of Inadequacy

Stress can seriously affect your emotional well-being, especially since it can tear apart relationships with loved ones. You are likely to be irritable, picking fights, or feel pressured to perform. This can amount to depression, anxiety or feelings of disappointment.

Depression is sometimes difficult to diagnose, especially in people who do not possess a strong family, and or friends, support system.

Stress In The Workplace

Feeling constant stress in the workplace contributes to the deaths of thousands of Americans every year, but just taking regular breaks during the work-day can help relieve the pressure of that stress.

Stress Effects on your Body“]

  • Nervous System
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Digestive System
  • Your Cells
  • Immune System
  • Metabolic System
  • Stress Messes With Your Sleep

The effects of stress are implicated in so many possible body issues which include: headaches, migraines, asthma, fatigue, insomnia, depression, anxiety, hypertension, indigestion/acid reflux, a weakened immune system, skin problems, heart and lung issues, chronic pain, muscle tension, IBS –  irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, constant colds and sinus infections,fibromyalgia… and the list goes on.

In order to fix this, your nervous system has to set a new baseline for operating.

The Effects Of Stress On Your Body Video

Simple Methods to Help Control Stress

When it comes to fighting stress, health officials recommend 30 minutes of even moderate aerobic activity daily, but even if you can just do a few days a week, that also helps.

Another positive option would be to add meditation, especially mindfulness meditation, into your daily schedule.

But watching your breathing may be the quickest and most immediate fix. When people get upset they breathe very shallowly and rapidly, which creates even more stress.  “I can’t breathe!”, and the person becomes even more anxious.

Take a step back when you feel yourself getting upset, become mindful of your breathing. Breath slowly, breathe from the abdomen, not the lungs, and this will help slow down the stress anxiety.

Overview 

If you find yourself experiencing one or more of the symptoms above with increasing frequency, it is time to take a step back from the burden you have placed on your shoulder.

Sometimes, just a short vacation, a weekend getaway or just a simple walk in the great outdoors, it’s called ‘forest or nature bathing‘, can do wonders for your well-being and help to reduce your stress.

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