We all have experienced stress at some point. Frankly, many of us actually experience stress on a regular basis. The degree to which we experience stress, though, can vary greatly, from being somewhat stressed by sitting in traffic to getting extremely stressed when running late to an appointment. The reasons and causes of stress are endless, and what stresses out one person may not even make another person flinch. Because our life circumstances and personalities are all different, our stress triggers will be unique as well.
I will admit I currently have quite a bit of stress in my life although others may not find it stressful. Not only am I planning a wedding (less than three months away!), but I am also preparing the house I will live in after I get married. This means most of my days involve going to furniture or hardware stores, choosing paint colors, running around picking up things for the wedding, and so on and so forth. Frankly, I don’t quite remember the last time I just sat doing nothing – I miss those days.
To many, my experience may not be stressful because they may be interested in interior design or enjoy being on the go all the time. For myself, however, this has brought up much stress as it involves many of my stress triggers.
I will admit that I have a difficult time making decisions, and when preparing a home and planning a wedding there are numerous decisions to be made, so this is very stressful to me. Besides, I despise confrontation, and if you’ve ever planned a wedding, confrontation is, unfortunately, unavoidable at some point, including the confrontation between the bride and the groom, as each of the parties seems to have their own opinion that doesn’t really jive with that of their counterpart. As you can tell, it’s a lot to deal with and, frankly, I’m counting down the days until it’s all over and I can go back to doing nothing.
As you know, stress is harmful for your body and health. I have IBS, and stress is a well-known trigger of IBS-related symptoms. If I’m not careful with my stress management, I can find myself with a slew of IBS symptoms negatively affecting the quality of my life along with my ability to perform many of the tasks I have to do.
If you aren’t aware of the effects of stress, take a look at the list below so you can have a better idea as to why stress, particularly chronic stress, is so detrimental for your health.
The negative effects of stress on your health
The Mayo Clinic reports that stress not only alters your mood, behavior, and mental well-being, but it can also affect your physical health. Failure to properly manage your stress can put your overall health at serious risk.
Here are some of those nasty side effects of stress to look out for:
- Muscle pain or tension
- Chest pain
- Change in sex drive
- Upset stomach
- Sleep problems
- Lack of motivation or focus
- Irritability or anger
- Sadness or depression
- Overeating or undereating
- Angry outbursts
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Tobacco use
- Social withdrawal
As you can see, the effects of stress involve all aspects of your living and, if left untreated, can wreak havoc on your health. The effects of stress can also become amplified if you have a pre-existing health condition. For example, high blood pressure or heart problems can worsen when stress is added into the equation. Even if you don’t have a health problem, being chronically stressed can weaken your immune system, increasing your risk of illness, too.
The message is quite clear: stress is something that requires proper handling. Even if you think you’re not stressed, you may be surprised to discover that you’re experiencing some of these side effects of stress. If that’s the case, here are some tips to better help you manage stress.
- Take part in regular physical activity.
- Try relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, tai chi, or massage therapy.
- Try and keep your sense of humor, watch funny videos or look at funny images for some comic relief.
- Socialize with family and friends.
- Make time for things that make you happy such as reading, hiking, or listening to music. For myself, this is teaching my regular Zumba classes three times a week. Not only am I getting in regular exercise, but my class is full of high-energy passionate individuals who have such positive vibes to pass on.
The important thing is, whatever you do to manage your stress, ensure that it doesn’t do your health any harm. Avoid reaching for alcohol, tobacco, or other substances, and turning to any other harmful practices.
If you are really having a hard time handling stress then you may find it helpful to reach out to a therapist or councilor—they may you help get to the root cause of your stress.
There’s no doubt that life brings a lot of stress, but it’s still important that you find healthy and effective ways to control your stress.
Until next time,