Why You Shouldn’t Let Stress Consume Your Life : We all experience stress every now and then, and a little stress here and there isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The problem arises when stress gets out of hand. Chronic stress can wear you down on both a physical and mental level.
Stress doesn’t mean the same to everyone, either. What stresses one person may not even phase another, and some people are able to handle stress better than others.
It’s important to recognize some of the symptoms of stress and why you shouldn’t let it consume your life.
The production of cortisol and stress
When you are stressed, the hormone cortisol is released into your bloodstream, increasing your heart rate and blood pressure leading to the “flight or fight” response.
In small doses, cortisol can help improve your memory, immune system, and strengthen hurt muscles. When your body produces too much cortisol, it can have negative side effects, which can be seen as symptoms of stress.
Symptoms of stress
Stress affects you on a mental and physical level. While these symptoms are not universal, they are common.
Some emotional symptoms include:
- Frustration, irritability, mood swings
- Overwhelmed feeling, trouble concentrating
- Trouble relaxing
- Low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety
- Avoidant behavior
Some physical symptoms include:
- Stomach problems (upset stomach, diarrhea, constipation, nausea)
- Low energy, tiredness
- Racing heart/increased heartbeat
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Weight loss or gain
While you may experience these symptoms every now and then, they become an issue when they’re constant, and they start to consume your everyday life. If stress goes unchecked, it can have long-term detrimental effects on your body and well-being.
When stress gets out of hand
Stress is a cycle that can feel never-ending. Stress can lead you to drink more or eat fatty foods as a way to calm yourself or experience short bursts of relaxation. The problem is these methods are not considered healthy responses to stress and can lead to more serious health problems.
Mental health problems
Stress can cause increased amounts of anxiety and or feelings of depressions. This, in turn, can develop into a disorder, leading to more stress.
Your sex drive is affected by chronic stress. Since your body uses sex hormones to meet the increasing need for cortisol production, your interest in stress wanes, and for males, could lead to erectile dysfunction.
If you begin to rely on drinking as a way to relieve stress, you run the risk of developing a drinking problem. The effects of long-term alcohol abuse will lead to serious health problems such as cancer, nerve damage, liver disease, and heart attacks.
When you are stressed, it’s not uncommon for people to resort to eating comfort foods such as foods with a high amount of sugar or fat. If you continue to eat as a way to relieve stress, you run the risk of overeating and potentially becoming overweight or obese.
An increased amount of smoking
For some people, smoking cigarettes is a way to cope with stress. The more often you are stressed, the more you might smoke. Nicotine can damage blood vessels and lead you to develop heart disease or lung cancer.
Better responses to stress
No matter what, stress will always play some part in your life. It’s best to identify what causes that stress and how you can address it.
Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise is helpful. Yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and even massage therapy are also recommended.
If stress becomes too unbearable, consider seeing a therapist or doctor. They can help you identify your triggers and plan a healthy course of action.
While it’s intimidating, you don’t have to let stress control your life. The sooner you can address it, the better off you will be.
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