What does Stress do to us?
It takes away our happiness and causes us to feel tired all day. It takes away our motivation. It takes away our self-control and eats away at our life. We cannot do anything productive when under stress.
So what do we do?
Many people have found success by dealing with and conquering and sometimes even accepting the stress in their lives.
Easier said than done, right?
What causes stress?
Any changes in our living patterns can easily induce stress, especially when the change is unintended or unwanted. When facing stress, our bodies naturally stimulate the fight-or-flight response, but these responses are not always practical. There are situations where we cannot fight or run away from, and that is the precursor to stress.
Is Stress Normal?
Stress is a normal part of our lives, and it only becomes a problem when the stress reaches abnormal levels. In fact, stress is not always a bad thing. There is good stress which originates from positive events in our lives such as a promotion, moving to a new house or a new place, an interview, having a baby, and getting married among others. Negative or bad stress results from uncomfortable situations that make us unhappy, unsettled, and constantly having feelings of guilt and worry.
How Does Stress Work?
When you are stressed, your body produces a hormone called cortisol to activate your bodies’ “fight-or-flight” response. Cortisol hormone prepares you for any imminent challenge or threat by increasing your level of alertness, motivation, and preparedness. It is vital to our survival because it gives us the confidence to face and correctly respond to a potentially dangerous situation. As good as cortisol is for us during life-or-death situations, too much of it is potentially harmful. Because cortisol increases alertness and motivation when under stress, most people find it difficult to sleep. Long-term cortisol in our bodies eventually causes low energy and dormant behavior, and in most cases, we find it hard to perform at our best both physically and mentally.
Can daily stress lead to chronic disease?
Like everything else in life, stress is natural, but too much is not. Too much stress can cause us to suffer from headaches, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and anxiety. When cortisol hormone is released in your body, it tightens your blood vessels, which increases your blood pressure. During emergency situations, your body needs extra energy, so cortisol activates your liver to release more glucose. The release of too much glucose could cause glucose to build up in your blood, which can lead to Type 2 Diabetes mellitus. Stress and cortisol can also impair our immune system, which can lead to frequent illness.
What Can I do to relieve stress?
Stress is inevitable, but it is up to us to handle it effectively.
Some tips on how to handle stress include:
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
- Engage in regular exercise and physical activity
- Join a community of like-minded people
- Schedule 7-8 hours of sleep daily. Don’t sleep too much either, it’s not good for your health.
- Practice mindfulness both at home and at work. You can achieve this through a daily meditation practice.
- Understand your body and be aware of your stress inducers so you can be prepared.
- Be productive. Don’t procrastinate.
- Don’t consume harmful toxic substances to ease stress.
These tips should help you in avoiding and managing stress throughout your life so you can become a happy and stress-free person.