If you live in the same world I do then you’re not a stranger to stress. It pops up when you least expect it, it prevents you from thinking straight, lead to numerous health issues and can down right ruin your day!
Here’s the scientific and fancy way of explaining what stress is – “Your body’s response to environmental conditions or stressors that upset your equilibrium.”
And the non-fancy scientific way – “Your body’s response to when things don’t go your way, when people tick you off, and when you feel as if you don’t have any time to do anything.”
The cool thing about stress (well I guess it’s cool to me) is the physiological changes that happen to your body when you’re “stressed”. It involves almost every organ in your body including your brain, nerves, heart, blood flow, release of hormones, digestion and muscle function. These changes that happen in your body are caused by the “fight or flight” response.
Any events, circumstances, or environments that arouse your emotional response, can cause stress. Even changes for the better like going on vacation, starting a new job or having the kids go back to school can cause stress. And sometimes…you even get stressed at little things like waiting in line or traffic delays.
Quick Tip: What’s important to note is that what’s stressful to one person may not be to another.
Short periods of stress upset your body and can cause common physical symptoms that disappear when the source of the stress fades away. The symptoms are more likely to fade away, once you develop effective stress-coping solutions and have regular outlets for expressing your feelings.
Stress also produces numerous changes in your body’s chemistry. In a stressful situation, your brain sends out chemical signals that tell your adrenal glands immediately to secrete stress hormones (catecholamines and adrenaline). These hormones begin a chain reaction in the body – your heart rate speeds up, blood pressure rises, blood moves from your intestine to the muscles to promote getting out of danger, and insulin production rises to enable your body to quickly metabolize energy. All of these responses are designed to help you get away from danger.
Prolonged stress keeps your body in overdrive and can have noticeable effects on your physical health. It can stimulate the production of excess stomach acid, which can lead to an ulcer. Or it can harm already damaged blood vessels and raise blood pressure, causing angina or even a heart attack. It can also provoke serious eating or under eating, which obviously affects your weight. Long-term stress may also be involved with the onset or the progression of illnesses like cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, baldness, asthma, nervous tics, skin rashes, menstrual irregularities, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diabetes, and low back pain.
Stress can be pretty nasty sometimes if you don’t know how to deal with it. Here are a couple simple, yet effective ways to deal with your stress.
Keep in mind that there are hundreds of ways to deal with your stress so try many things and see which ones work best for you.
- Exercise (highly recommended!), recreational activities, and hobbies. Socialize with friends with whom you can share the good and the bad with.
- Learn new relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga or tai chi.
- Organize your month/week/day.
- Avoid the use of tranquilizers, sleeping pills, or alcohol to deal with stressful circumstances.
- Don’t make small situations bigger than they really are.
What do you get stressed out about and how do you deal with it?