Stress protects us from danger by allowing us to quickly decide whether to “fight-or-flight” during emergency situations. It speeds up our action and decision-making helping us to perform better under pressure. However, this supposedly helpful reaction of our body can lead to serious problems if not handled properly.
Stress happens when we encounter things that are beyond our control such as being chased by a wild tiger or losing a job. This alerts our body releasing cortisol and adrenaline hormones that makes the heart pump faster resulting to high blood pressure, muscle tension, and rapid breathing. These physiological effects activate the necessary organs of the body especially the brain and muscles to act quickly and correctly .
Short-term stress such as: running out of gas in the middle of nowhere, approaching deadlines, and missing a flight can be a good thing. It improves thinking skills and boosts energy allowing us to make the necessary actions and take control of the situation. It also lets us prepare for an exam, job interview, or sports match as it improves our focus and drives us to get ready.
The body returns to its normal state after a short burst of stress but not when it is prolonged. Long-term stress also known as chronic stress which can have negative effects on our health – physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Long-term stress causes increased blood sugar levels, weight gain, suppressed immune system, digestive problems, heart disease, and neurological problems. During stress, the body is triggered to release blood glucose which is necessary to supply immediate energy into the muscles. Too much releasing of blood glucose in the course of long-term stress and the body is unable to cope with excessive supplies. The unused blood sugar supplies are stored as body fats resulting to weight gain and diabetes. In addition, over supply of glucose also makes us feel hungry which contributes to weight gain.
Too much exposure to stress suppresses the immune system making us susceptible to diseases such as cold and contagious illnesses. Moreover, it affects the digestive tract making it difficult to digest and absorb food. The irregular pumping of blood caused by stress also elevates heart rate and blood pressure which may lead to blood vessel damage and build-up of plaque in arteries that are the primary reasons of heart disease.
Chronic stress is mostly caused by emotional problems such as divorce, death of a loved one, financial burdens, moving to a new home, and accidents. These introduced worrying resulting in psychological exhaustion leading to depression and anxiety.
Signs of unhealthy stress includes frequent headaches, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, irritability, digestion problems, memory loss, and poor concentration. These can greatly affect not only health but also our career and relationships with people.
Being healthy, focused, attentive, and having a peace of mind are necessary to be efficient at work. On the other hand, being irritable or isolating yourself from others makes you difficult to deal with – pushing people away.
If you feel that your stress levels are high and affecting your productivity, job, and relationships, its time to take actions. Taking control of your stress in highly important to take control of your life. Strengthen your support system by talking to your friends and family especially when you have problems, develop a hobby or take up sports to have diversions, and exercise to promote relaxation are just few simple techniques to help you fight against stress. You can also seek for a professional help if stress is worse than what you can handle.
Isabella Whitmore enjoys celebrating life and encourages people to practice happiness and reducing stress. One of her stress relievers is writing articles for https://electrickettlesplus.com, an appliance website that provides easy to use cordless electric kettles.