The Effects of Stress
Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences. Everyone expresses
stress from time to time. Anything from everyday responsibilities like work and family to serious
life events such as a new diagnosis, war, or the death of a loved one can trigger stress. For
immediate, short-term situations, stress can be beneficial to your health. It can help you cope
with potentially serious situations. Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones that
increase your heart and breathing rates and ready your muscles to respond. Yet if your stress
response doesn’t stop firing, and these stress levels stay elevated far longer than is necessary for
survival, it can take a toll on your health. Chronic stress can cause a variety of symptoms and
affect your overall well-being. Symptoms of stress include irritability, anxiety, depression,
headaches, and insomnia.
Your muscles tense up to protect themselves from injury when you’re stressed. They tend
to release again once you relax, but if you’re constantly under stress, your muscles may not get
the chance to relax. Tight muscles cause headaches, back and shoulder pain, and body aches.
Over time, this can set off an unhealthy cycle as you stop exercising and turn to pain medication
Reducing your stress levels can not only make you feel better right now, but may also
protect your health long-term. Identify what’s causing stress. Monitor your state of mind
throughout the day. If you feel stressed, write down the cause, your thoughts and your mood.
Once you know what’s bothering you, develop a plan for addressing it. That might mean setting
more reasonable expectations for yourself and others or asking for help with household
responsibilities, job assignments or other tasks. List all your commitments, assess your priorities
and then eliminate any tasks that are not absolutely essential. If you continue to feel
overwhelmed, consult with a licensed mental health professional who can help you learn how to
manage stress effectively. He or she can help you identify situations or behaviors that contribute
to your chronic stress and then develop an action plan for changing them.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please contact us today!
Comprehensive Health Orlando