Dangers of Stress. Consider this scenario:
It’s a Monday morning and your car won’t start when you are ready to leave for work. You have to call your spouse, who is already 2/3 of the way to his/her place of employment, to pick you up and take you in to work. This is pretty inconvenient, because money is tight! You cannot afford the extra gas necessary for this morning’s unusual commute. Additionally, you might not be able to afford to pay your utilities bill this month if your spouse misses work (even if it’s only for a few hours).
How does it make you feel? Most likely, your answer is, “Stressed”. With today’s society placing such a high value on staying busy and being as efficient as possible around the clock, even the smallest variation of your schedule can throw seemingly everything out of whack. It is only natural that this might leave you feeling flustered. It’s normal to feel a little stressed out now and again, but your body is not designed to handle stress effectively over long periods of time. Chronic stress can lead to an almost infinite number of damages to your psyche and your physical well-being. There are effective ways to manage your stress, but you might feel as if you never have time to implement them. This article is designed to help you recognize for of the major dangers of stress and introduce you to some easy ideas for effective stress management.
If you haven’t already gone about implementing some effective stress management techniques into your daily life, you might find that these three critical areas of your well-being are suffering:
The implications of chronic stress on your physical health are too numerous and serious to fully explore here. However, science has proven that chronic stress can be detrimental to your blood pressure, immune system, and heart health. Stress is known to aggravate just about any preexisting condition you can think of. For example, prolonged periods of stress can exacerbate allergies and autoimmune conditions. Additionally, even if you’re getting your full dose of vitamin C, excess stress can leave your body wide open to conditions like the common cold, herpes, and even cancer! Setting aside time and money to reduce the stress in your life, however possible, is a direct investment in your physical health both in the present and future.
It’s a common scene in movies and television: a main character has been going through a rough patch in life and completely ‘flies of the handle’ after some minor indiscretion, like the coffee guy getting his or her order wrong. We’ve known for a long time that stress makes it more difficult to control your emotions. However, a research study conducted at New York University discovered that it takes surprisingly little stress (think having your hands dunked in icy cold water) to impair your ability to ward off anxiety and fear. This can lead to incredible difficulties for an individual that already has a disorder such as Social Anxiety or Bipolar Disorder.
However, being stressed out over something specific- like an upcoming presentation at work- can lead to isolation. Worse still, being perpetually busy because you are trying to get ‘caught up’ and eliminate stressors can lead you to emerge from your stress in a state of ‘emptiness’. After being so focused on one certain stressor for an incredibly long amount of time, you might find that you no longer ‘know yourself’ once you get back to a normal pace and lifestyle.
This one is almost self-explanatory. If you are feeling stressed-out (and physically and emotionally unwell because of it) you are much more likely to be short or impatient with family and friends. Additionally, if you don’t fall into the trap of always being ‘too busy’ to make plans with them, you may be just plain unpleasant company if you do!
Well… all of those effects seem rather unfortunate! So what can you do to reduce the stress in your life?
Try out a Real Relaxation Technique
Common practices include mediation, deep breathing techniques, guided visualization, performing ‘scans’ of your body to become more in tune with it and it’s needs, aroma therapy and even physically massaging tension away. A quick internet search should easily lead you to some ideas, and through just a bit of trial and error you should be able to find one that suits your schedule and personal preferences!
Laugh It All Off
Laughter has been scientifically proven to reduce the effects that stress has on the body. Whether you watch your favorite sitcom, make a date to go to the nearest comedy club, or just hang out with a friend that you find funny, getting a giggle or two in will reduce your stress level- all while you’re having great fun.
Whether you enjoy yoga or decide to map out a running route through your neighborhood, exercise releases endorphins that can boost your mood and lower your stress level. Changing your activity level and eating more healthily can not only put you in a better frame of mind (which will allow you to better fight off and manage stress) but it can also help you to ward off the most negative effects of stress (particularly the physical ones).
The dangers of stress to your well-being may be scary, but stress doesn’t have to rule your life. The easiest escape to your stress problem is to deal with it head on. Taking small steps to reduce your stress level is better than taking no steps to do so at all! Try starting with incorporating just one small stress management technique into your life each week and just see where it takes you.