Stress is your body’s reaction to pressure from a particular situation or experience. This may be a physical, mental, or emotional reaction. Everyone experiences stress from time to time. Work, serious life events like a new diagnosis or the death of a loved one can trigger stress. Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones that increase your heart and breathing rates and prepare your muscles to respond.
During a stress response, your heart rate increases, breathing accelerates, muscles tighten, and your blood pressure rises. So, if your stress response doesn’t stop flaring up, and these stress levels stay elevated longer than it’s necessary, it can take a toll on your health. Our bodies are designed to handle a little amount of stress at a time. But we are not fit to handle long-standing, chronic stress without consequences.
Symptoms of stress may include:
Consequences of Long-term Stress
A little stress now and then is not something to be worried about. Ongoing, chronic stress, however, can lead to or aggravate many serious health problems, including:
If you have stress symptoms, taking the necessary steps to manage your stress can have many health benefits. These include:
· Getting regular physical activity
· Practicing relaxation techniques, like deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or massage.
· Keeping a sense of humor
· Spending time with family and friends
· Create time for hobbies, like reading a book or listening to music.
· Get enough sleep and eat a healthy, balanced diet. Avoid excess caffeine, alcohol, and use of illegal substances.
Stress is a part of life. What is more important is how you handle it. The best thing you can do to avert stress overload and the health consequences that come with it is to know your stress symptoms.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by stress, talk to your doctor. Many symptoms of stress could also be signs of other health problems. The doctor can assess your symptoms and rule out other conditions. If stress is to blame, your doctor can recommend a therapist or counselor to help you better handle your stress.