What is stress?
Stress is our body’s natural response to situations and circumstances that are difficult or challenging.
Stress often occurs when a person feels mentally, physically or emotionally pressured. When you feel strained because of what you are presently experiencing, your body sends out chemical signals to trigger the “fight or flight” response.
Stress is an instinctual, physiological response to a perceived threat or danger in the environment.
When a person feels stressed his body becomes ready to combat whatever it is that is causing the stress. Thousands of years ago, the stress response was useful for our nomadic ancestors because it allowed them to become stronger and faster when they were in danger. When the danger passed, so did the stress response.
Why are toxic levels of stress common nowadays?
Modernity brought many conveniences to us humans, but it also brought its own set of problems. We may now be living in the age of the Internet and modern technology, but our bodies have yet to fully adapt to modernity. We are still genetically designed for the nomadic, hunter-gatherer way of life.
And now, due to the drastic demands of modern living, people are now stressed by circumstances that cannot be fought or escaped, like work, family life, bad colleagues, etc. We are continually faced with stressors or stress triggers on a daily basis.
What happens when a person is always steeped in stress?
When a person’s stress response is prolonged, he begins to suffer from a host of stress-related symptoms and maladies.
A person may develop powerful migraines, hyper-acidic reactions, insomnia and even muscle pain in various parts of the body. Prolonged stress has also been associated with the development of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and even cancer.
Can stress affect our health?
Scientific studies now reveal that we were wrong to believe that stress couldn’t make us sick.
When I tell people that stress can have a direct, negative impact on their health, I often hear responses like “unbelievable” or “impossible!” I don’t blame them for these misconceptions because for the longest time, it was believed that stress was merely a state of mind and had absolutely no impact on our bodies.
For example, the American Heart Association recommends regular stress management to control periodic spikes in blood pressure, which can put hypertensive patients at risk for stroke or heart attack.
The American Diabetes Association on the other hand, warns us that excessive stress can actually increase a person’s blood glucose level and impair one’s eating habits.
What’s the next step?
If you want to live a fuller and more rewarding life free of the many inconveniences and health risks brought about by stress, you have to make a conscious effort to manage your stress levels
Our Stress Articles assumes the following:
1. That you are interested in stress management techniques and would like to know more about how you can actively reduce stress in your life.
2. That you are not using this articles as a substitute for medical advice even if from time to time, health-related concepts may be mentioned to enhance the knowledge presented.
3. That you are willing to modify your current lifestyle to improve your chances of beating excess stress permanently.