Stress is a natural and inevitable part of modern life. However, when we experience stress too often or for long periods of time, it can lead to negative effects on our physical and mental health. It’s possible to recognise the signs before they escalate into full-blown problems such as anxiety or depression. To understand what that means, let’s look at how stress affects daily life:
1 Not getting enough sleep / Sleep deprivation
Stress has a profound impact on one’s sleeping patterns. For instance, many people who suffer from insomnia have reported experiencing more than just trouble sleeping; their inability to fall asleep and stay asleep was closely tied with stressful events in their lives. Besides sleep disturbances, which can lead to fatigue and daytime sleepiness, chronic stress can also lead to more serious health problems such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
2 Increased Appetite
When people are stressed, their bodies release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol signals the body to increase its blood sugar levels in order to provide energy for the fight-or-flight response. This ‘stress eating’ can cause people to eat more unhealthy foods and put on weight. In fact, research has shown that people who are chronically stressed are more likely to be overweight or obese than those who aren’t.
3 Feeling overwhelmed
When we’re constantly juggling work, family responsibilities and social commitments, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. This constant sense of being rushed and not being able to keep up can be extremely stressful. Symptoms of feeling overwhelmed include feeling constantly anxious, irritable and tense, having trouble concentrating, and experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath.
4 Feeling isolated
When we’re stressed, it’s common to feel like we can’t talk to anyone about our problems. We may start withdrawing from family and friends, or stop participating in activities we used to enjoy. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, which are also known to be major stressors.
5 Increased risk of illness
Chronic stress has been linked with a number of health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and cancer. This is because when the body is constantly in a state of stress, it releases harmful hormones and chemicals that can damage cells and tissues. So, while stress is a natural response to difficult situations, it’s important to find ways to manage it so that it doesn’t have a negative impact on our health.
How Can We Overcome our Stress?
Everyone experiences stress, and it’s no bad thing – it’s a natural reaction to challenging situations. However, when the body is exposed to stressors over a prolonged period of time without any downtime, it can lead to adverse effects such as anxiety and depression. That’s why it’s important to keep stress levels down by taking care of yourself and trying relaxation techniques that will help you recharge your batteries after a long day at work or with family responsibilities. Here are some tips:
1 Get active / Exercise
2 Connect with others
4 Listen to music
6 Get enough sleep
7 Seek professional help