A Deeper Look into Stress
We’ve all experienced stress at some point in our lives, whether you were conscious of it or not. It’s a naturally occurring reaction and response to those daily demands and pressures that life throws our way. But it’s also one of the greatest dangers to our health since it has become a condition that so many of us endure consistently.
Let’s take a deeper look into stress – what causes it, how it can affect your health, and what you can do to help mitigate it.
What Causes it?
Stress is a direct response to your body’s defensive internal mechanisms that kick into action when it’s under pressure. It’s what protected us hundreds of years ago when we had much larger (and dangerous) predators to fear. Our blood would start pumping, elevating our heart rate and adrenaline to prep us to fight or run. This fight or flight reaction would then shut off once the danger had passed and our mind and body could then relax and return to normal.
But today, there are countless triggers – divorce, experiencing a loss, or being diagnosed with an illness – that contribute to stress. And it’s normal to experience it in small quantities, especially with these more severe, infrequent triggers that may occur in life. But when it comes to the everyday ones – traffic jams, stress at work, or relationship drama – that can occur much more frequently, even every day, these are what can really pose some serious, potential dangers to your health over time.
How Does it Affect our Health?
With all of the pressure and stress that we experience throughout our busy lives, that fight or flight reaction can kick into gear and keeping it idling consistently like a car engine that won’t turn off. This in turn, can influence a variety of ailments as a result, such as migraines, chronic pain, hypertension, diabetes, insomnia, strokes, and even heart attacks.
Coping With Stress
If you do suffer from chronic stress, you certainly aren’t alone. It’s become one of the biggest culprits against poor health – both physically and mentally. And many people choose to attempt coping with this through drug abuse, alcohol, or other destructive ways.
But there are constructive, healthy ways to deal with it that can really allow you to learn how to cope, and greatly reduce the amount of stress you experience. This will vary for each individual, but some of the best strategies include, meditation and deep breathing exercises, physical exercising to help stimulate our feel-good endorphins, along with finding some form of outlet to express yourself and let out your feelings. Even simply engaging with others – sharing, listening, laughing together – can be a very effective way to reduce stress.
Speaking with a therapist is also a great way to express how and what you’re feeling. A therapist can offer you guidance and allow you to understand and address what might be causing the pressures that you’re feeling.
Caring for the health of both your body and mind is so important. And chronic stress can be a very dangerous condition that many may not realize until it manifests in various ways that affect our health. So be proactive! If you or someone you love is enduring high amounts of stress frequently, it’s time to address it!