The Health Effects of Chronic Stress and the Few Simples Techniques You Can Use to Help Get Your Life Back to Balance
Unfortunately, we can’t avoid stress. We are constantly pulled in many directions, and we all face certain levels of stress daily. Work, family demands and commitments, and our ever-growing to-do list can bring about various stressors. And while some stress is beneficial and can motivate us to complete the task in front of us or prevent us from getting hurt, chronic stress can negatively impact our overall well-being. Chronis stress can have a damaging and negative impact on your health.
Definition of stress
So, what is stress exactly? In short, it’s our body’s reaction to a harmful situation – whether real or perceived and can be a physical, emotional strain, mental strain, or tension.
When we feel threatened in any way, our bodies react with what is known as a “fight or flight” response. Our muscles become tense, our blood pressure rises, our breathing becomes rapid, and our heart rate increases. This is how our bodies prepare to protect us when they detect we’re in any danger.
Signs and symptoms of too much stress
Everyone is different when it comes to stress. And what stresses one person out may not
have any effect on someone else. But regardless of what causes your stress, it’s essential to understand the signs and symptoms of too much, especially if you’re experiencing adverse mental and physical effects.
Stress can manifest itself in many ways, including how it affects your emotional
well-being. If you’re feeling overly agitated, frustrated, or on-edge, it may because you’re overly stressed. These emotions, if left unchecked, can quickly develop into depression and anxiety.
On the same token, if you’re constantly worrying, have racing thoughts, cannot focus,
and are being pessimistic about everything, you may be experiencing stress overload.
Too much stress can also make you feel physically ill. If you have too many commitments
and you are feeling overwhelmed, you can present with a range of physical conditions, including:
- Difficulty sleeping, including insomnia
- Feel lethargic or lacking energy
- Stress or tension headaches
- Stomach issues, including diarrhea, constipation, and feeling nauseous
- Achy and tense muscles
- Chest pains and rapid heartbeat
- Frequent colds
- Dry mouth and trouble swallowing
- Stress eating, which can lead to weight gain
- Grinding teeth and clenched jaws
If you don’t get a handle on your stress level, these physical symptoms could grow into more significant health care concerns. For example, too much stress can lead to high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, and even heart attacks and strokes.
Too many stressors can also lead to various skin and hair problems, such as regular acne breakouts, eczema, and hair loss. You might also develop some gastrointestinal issues, including acid reflux, gastritis, peptic ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Getting a grip on our stress and managing it effectively is one of the keys to leading a healthy and happy life.
Stress management techniques
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and in need of some stress coping mechanisms, there are several healthy steps you can take to manage your tension more effectively.
One of the easiest ways to alleviate stress is exercise. Exercise releases a substance into your bloodstream known as endorphins that boost your mood and overall well-being. You don’t need to join an expensive gym or have access to fancy equipment. Integrating a few simple lifestyle changes into your everyday routine can make a difference. For example, ride your bike to the store instead of driving; park as far away as possible from the entrance when going to the grocery store, bank, or running other errands; or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Regular exercise will also help you improve your sleep quality, allowing your body and brain to recharge so that you can be ready to tackle the challenges of the next day. In addition to exercising, improving your sleep hygiene and quality is a great way to manage stress. Steps you can take to improve sleep quality include limiting your intake of caffeine and alcohol, soaking up some sunlight during the day, and keeping a regular sleep schedule, and limiting distractions at bedtime.
Other strategies to cope with stress include yoga, deep breathing, and simply connecting with people. Being with others willing to listen can have a calming effect stopping your “flight-or-fight” response.
Your diet also can affect your stress levels. Eating foods high in protein with a mix of fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates can help boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, and keep moodiness at bay. Food high in sugar and fat, on the other hand, has the opposite effect.
There are also several behaviors you can adopt to help manage your stress more effectively, such as:
- Not overcommitting yourself
- Setting healthy boundaries
- Walking away from negative situations or encounters
Taking the First Step
If life’s stressors are weighing you down, and you are feeling their effects emotionally, physically, and mentally, it’s time to make a change. Take a step back and figure out how you can decrease the amount of stress you experience to create a healthier, happier, and more productive life.
If your stress is leading to major physical symptoms such as chest pain, headache, palpitations, vomiting, numbness, weakness, etc. you will need to be evaluated in an ER Immediately. The ER will need to evaluate you for any emergency health concerns that may lead to devastating consequences.
Community First ER is Here for You
When stress and anxiety have taken a toll, Community First ER will be here for you. Our board-certified physicians and registered nurses are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. No appointment is necessary to receive our personalized, compassionate, and concierge level of care. Our staff has access to CT scans, ultrasound, and X-ray machines, so we can quickly diagnose and treat your condition. Whether you have developed symptoms such as headache, chest pain, abdominal pain, or a racing heart, we will evaluate you immediately and determine the best course of action. We have access to all the tools needed to make an emergent diagnosis and if needed, we can transfer you to a higher level of care or refer you to a specialist.
About Community First ER
Emergency health care, especially in the time of a pandemic, is a critical resource. Our commitment is to provide a personal, transparent, and concierge-driven emergency health care experience to our community members. Locally owned and operated by health care providers and partners we trust; we strive to support and create meaningful relationships with those around us. We exist to put your health and wellness first. For more information, visit our website at https://communityfirster.com/ and engage with us on social media:
Emergency health care, especially in the time of a pandemic, is a critical resource. Our commitment is to provide a personal, transparent, and concierge-driven emergency health care experience to our community members. Locally owned and operated by health care providers and partners we trust, we strive to support and create meaningful relationships with those around us. We exist to put your health and wellness first.