The Dangers Of Stress And How To Prevent It From Controlling Your Life
If you’re anything like the rest of the population then you’ve likely got a few stressors in your life, and while an acute case here and there isn’t such a problem, chronic stress and anxiety disorders have a huge impact on people globally, and affect a large number of the population worldwide. In America alone the numbers have been climbing at an outrageous rate, and can be related to the economy, work, romance, and personal issues. Most of the studies performed on causes of stress in the United States have come back with results recording that the highest levels of stress are seen in matters relating to finances, whether at home, or in the markets, and a large number of these stressed out individuals are appearing to be younger with each passing study as the youth of America realize how the economic crisis will affect their futures. In fact, during a study performed by the American Psychological association results showed that 74% of a test group who were worried about money were under the age of 35, and that out of the total subjects being reviewed 63% reported money to be the biggest stressor in their lives.
How Stress Works
In a normal functioning human being stress is actually a good thing to have in small doses as it’s a normal response that your body takes in reaction to events or situations that might make you feel threatened or unbalanced. In ancient times this would help you to sense danger and protect yourself in a difficult situation against a predator or attacker; not in modern times it may be the force that gets you up off of the couch to finish a report that’s due tomorrow. Although it’s not something that should be worrisome in small doses, as mentioned above there comes a point when stress can become dangerous and even damaging; helpguide.org reports: “But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life.”
One of the most dangerous situations that chronic stress can cause in your life isn’t just related to health factors, but is that when you experience this spike in alertness, energy, and that feeling of being on edge so frequently, when you really need that stress to kick in during a fight or flight situation you may not realize it’s there until it’s too late.
Signs That Your Stress Is Out Of Control
In the world of stress there are emotional and physiological responses to stress, and as your anxiety levels increase more of these symptoms will be felt. Mentally you may find yourself forgetting things that you wouldn’t normally forget and finding it difficult to focus at moments when it’s important that you pay attention to something. Your ability to judge a situation may seem off, which can cause place you in situations you might not normally be involved with. Depression can set in where only negative aspects of life seem obvious, and your thoughts might race and cause you to worry constantly. This can lead to moodiness and a short temper which can make it difficult for you to relax, or feel happy. Physically you may feel real aches and pain especially in your head, neck, and back, you may get dizzy, nauseous and experience flu like symptoms. In more serious cases there can be chest pain, heart palpitations and a loss of sexual libido. All of these issues can cause you to eat improperly, lose sleep, become isolated and shirk responsibilities, which could cause to losing friends or your job. Deborah S. Hartz-Seeley of The Miami Herald reports:
“Chronic stress can affect your brain, suppress your thyroid, cause blood sugar imbalances, decrease bone density and muscle tissue, raise blood pressure, reduce your immunity and ability to heal, and increase fat deposits around your abdomen that are associated with heart attacks, strokes and elevated “bad” cholesterol.”
You may also find yourself using substances that you wouldn’t normally involve yourself with such as high doses of alcohol or cigarettes.
Ways To Manage Stress Without Medication
Although there are safe methods of treating chronic stress and anxiety through prescriptions made available by your physician, there are also many ways of coping with this problem through more natural methods. A lot of the stress caused through day to day activities like work and financial planning come from an overexertion of your efforts and energy, which can cause an overlap in physiological and mental exhaustion. When life becomes too much to handle through regular coping methods stress can become overwhelming, and this is when you may need to find an outlet to pour out all of that excess worry. Yoga, meditation, and physical exercise like running, or any gym activity have been proven methods of handling high stress loads. Many people also find that getting out into nature can reverse some of the negative effects that chronic stress can have on your life. Kristen Tolbert of The Huffington Post explains: “Make time for seven to nine hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep every night. You'll find you're more productive and capable of rolling with whatever stress the following day throws at you.”
Sleeping enough might seem like common knowledge but many Americans don’t find the time to commit to more than six hours of sleep per night and as sleep lessens and stress intensifies it can become even harder to close your eyes and drift off. Setting aside enough time to unwind and rest at the end of the workday can help you get into a better space for bedtime. Another factor that may seem obvious is your diet, and despite coffee and fast food on the run seemingly making your life easier throughout the work day it’s what’s going to slow you down on transitioning into your home life. Caffeine is a huge anxiety booster, so switching to decaf coffee or tea might be helpful, cutting back on high fat and fried foods will also help. Eating clean means that your body is getting more beneficial nutrients, which make for optimal physical and mental strength.
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