What Is Stress?
Stress was originally used by our ancestors to help them survive life-threatening and environmental dangers like hungry predators. Our brain still uses the same stress system today in response to any demanding situation by preparing our body to either face the threat or start fleeing to safety.
Whenever we find ourselves facing high risks or threats, stress responds by causing a number of physical reactions to help our bodies function at their best so we can survive. That’s why our heartbeat will accelerate when we begin to feel stressed, which causes us to breathe faster because our brain needs more oxygen.
Not all stress is bad for us. Stress can also increase our active abilities by releasing glucose to elevate our blood sugar levels and adrenaline to tense our muscles and widen our pupils. Stress can actually help us with physically demanding activities like athletics and sports, as well as providing us with positive motivation at work or in social situations.
How Does Stress Affect Your Health?
Unfortunately for all of us humans living in the modern world, stress can have a majorly negative effect on both our physical and mental health. Because while stress provided our ancestors with reactions in their bodies that they needed in order to survive, those same physiological responses can instead cause any number of health problems for us today. Especially when prolonged stress is experienced over an extended period of time.
When stress becomes chronic after not managing it correctly, it can have a major impact on many aspects of your overall health. That’s because prolonged exposure to stress hormones can put a continued strain on how well your body can function. Long-term exposure to stress can contribute to a number of serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, muscle tension, and heart palpitations, as well as mental illnesses like anxiety and depression.
How Can You Manage Stress?
Stress can have a lasting effect on your health and overall wellbeing. The good news is that coping with stress doesn’t have to be challenging. There are a number of stress management strategies that can help you deal with the symptoms and reduce the impact of living a stressful life. There is always something you can do which can help you start feeling better.
Staying active is one of the most successful ways of managing stress because the regular physical movement is always just as great for your heart as it is for your mind. You should also explore techniques for relaxation and meditation, and make sure you always get enough sleep each night.
The Last Word
If you’re struggling to cope or feeling too overwhelmed, you should always seek help from a medical health professional. Talking to a therapist or counselor can help identify your sources of stress and teach you the most effective tools for coping with it all.