When one encounters stress, their body produces certain stress hormones that initiate the ‘flight or fight’ response. This response through millions of years, has been there to help us respond quickly and efficiently in dangerous situations. In this day and age, and certainly within the western world, many of those dangers are no longer present, yet the body still releases these hormones under the belief or perception that a threat is present.
If one’s stress hormones are released repeatedly or frequently, it can result in severe damage to the body and can cause permanent health issues. Instead of helping one push through or escape actual danger, the pressure on the immune system can make one feel overwhelmed or unable to cope. Feeling overwhelming stress for long periods of time is referred to as a chronic state of stress, and it can impact detrimentally on both ones physical and mental health.
Where stress is a response to a particular threat in a situation, anxiety is a direct reaction to the stress.
Signs of stress
One may become withdrawn, indecisive or inflexible when experiencing states of stress. Sleeplessness, irritability or emotional outbursts may also occur. A change in sexual habits, smoking or consuming drugs or alcohol may be attributed to stress. Aggression, change in mood and relationships may all be affected due to chronic stress.
Headaches, nausea, body pains, organ strain, breathing difficulties and indigestion problems are a few of the bodily effects of stress. Stress may affect ones memory, concentration and willingness to engage in healthy activities; such as yoga or the gym. Long-term stress is linked to gastrointestinal conditions, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, stomach ulcers and cardiovascular disease among many others.
Anxiety, fear, anger, sadness, or frustration can all be attributed to stress in one way or another. These feelings may feed on each other and produce physical illness, creating a giant cycle of dis-ease within the body.
Build supportive relationships
Be aware of excessive smoking and drinking
Review your lifestyle
Realise when it is causing a problem and identify the causes
Take Time Out
Get some restful sleep
Work towards a change in perspective
*** Like all the issues that we face, whether it be stress, mood disorders, addictions, anxiety etc Our thoughts play a big part, if not the main part in our suffering. Mediation, mindfulness and internal wellness seem to be the most effective tools in combating stress – eliminate the issue at source ***