The effects of stress can sometimes make it difficult to deal with certain situations. In small doses, stress can be beneficial, but can also become extremely problematic. When it becomes a problem, it can have both physical and mental effects that are harmful to your well-being. Continue reading to learn more about the effects of stress on your health.
What is Stress?
Everyone knows what stress is but at the same time, we really don't. Stress is defined as your body's reaction to a potentially dangerous situation. When your body reacts, your brain sends chemicals and hormones throughout your body. These hormones then trigger a fight-or-flight response and get your adrenaline pumping. This response gets us to breathe faster and increases our brain activity to help get through a difficult situation.
Beneficial and Problematic Stress
People feel stressed out all the time. Whether it is because of traffic on the way to work, or having a big test coming up, the stress is still affecting you. However, stress can actually be beneficial at times. For instance, stress can motivate people to prepare for something like that big test or perhaps a job interview. Stress also has the capability to be life-saving, such as your body preparing to face danger.
However, on the other hand, long-term stress, otherwise known as chronic stress can actually be harmful to your health. Whether it be from a sudden negative change such as divorce or a loss of a loved one this kind of stress is very problematic. There are many effects to this kind of stress.
Effects of Stress
Physical Effects of Chronic Stress
There are many physical effects that stress can have on your body. Chronic stress can take a toll on your body in many ways. Stress.org goes into detail about some of the side effects of chronic stress. These side effects include, but are not limited to:
- Frequent headaches
- Heartburn, stomach pain & nausea
- Neck ache, back pain, and muscle spasms
- Cold or sweaty hands & feet
Along with physical side effects, chronic stress can have mental side effects. Some of these range from changes in eating habits such as eating a lot more than usual or a lot less than usual, all the way to feeling symptoms of depression, loneliness or worthlessness. These can leave you feeling like you can't manage your stress. Don't worry because there are still ways to get through it.
Mental Effects of Chronic Stress
Managing Your Stress
Stress seems to always build up as time goes on. That is why taking small steps and achieving little goals can help reduce your overall stress. The National Institute of Mental Health, also known as the NIMH gives these steps to help manage stress:
- Recognize the signs
- Talk To Your Doctor or Health Care Provider
- Get Regular Exercise
- Try a Relaxing Activity
- Set Goals and Priorities
- Stay Connected with People
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