Stress? - What are Stressors? - Common Symptoms of Stress - Managing Stress - Conclusion -
What is Stress?
Stress is defined as "the nonspecific response of the body to any demand made upon it." The human body strives to maintain appropriate functioning at all times, a notion called homeostasis. Demands, often called "stressful events" have the effect of changing the balances our body tries to keep functioning a particular way. This is also known as the "stress response." The stress response is a series of hormones released from the brain in order to help us overcome the stressful event. These hormones affect the body, raising our blood pressure, changing blood flow to major muscle groups and the brain, slowing down digestive functions, and other things in preparation for us to overcome the stressful event. In earlier days, most times stressful events were physical threats to our body (think: sabre tooth tiger and the "fight or flight response"). Our bodies then try to get the bodies systems back in balance. Our bodies are continuously adapting to the environment that surrounds us.
In modern times, stressful events have taken a much different look. Although things like traffic, overcrowding, bills, arguments, and other things we perceive as "stressful" are much different than centuries ago, our bodies "stress response" hasn't changed.
Stressors are the events or situations that cause stress. Being unprepared to give a presentation at work is an example of a stressor. The situation of being unprepared could make a person develop stress. There are two types of stressors:
Stressors surround our daily existence and how you manage stress relates to your physical and mental health. Discovering what events in your life are stressful is an important first step in managing stress.
Common Physical Symptoms of Stress
Stress affects the body in a variety of ways. For example, stress can reduce enjoyment of an occasion, can cause mood changes, and can cause severe health problems. Over time, stress is related to several chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure, migraine headaches, and a variety of other medical conditions. Stress can increase the risk of heart disease, hypertension, and even cancer. The good news is that the long-term effects of stress can be halted if a person effectively manages the events and responses to stress.
FACT: Stress is one of the leading causes of anxiety disorders, which affect over 20 million Americans.
Are you suffering from an anxiety disorder?
FACT: 10 million Americans see a psychiatrist for stress related issues each yearManaging Stress There are numerous ways to reduce stress in your life; the correct answer is finding what works for you. Research has shown that cognitive-behavioral therapy can be effective in reducing stress. Not only do you learn to react differently to specific stress related activities, you learn to understand how your thinking pattern contributed to the stress and how to alter your thought process.
A few suggestions...
Breathing and relaxation exercises are key to reducing negative stress. One form of this is yoga. Yoga is a form of meditation with one's self that consist of stretching exercises and deep breathing techniques. Over 6 million Americans have tried Yoga as a form of relaxation. Exercise is extremely important in reducing the affects of stress on the body. It enables the body to cope with stress more effectively. An overall approach to improving every day life has proven to be the most effective method to managing stress.
Humor is another way of dealing with stress. Having the ability to find humor in a stressful situation and being able to laugh about it, releases all the tension that is building inside. Even if the situation cannot be made light of, think of something else that will make you laugh.
Healthy lifestyle changes could also reduce the level of stress that a person may experience. A few suggestions include reducing caffeine intake, making new friends, finding time for sleep, and eating healthy. Healthy lifestyle changes help manage stress as well as your overall being.
Contacting your physician is another avenue to consider. More and more health insurance companies are now covering alternative medicine, such as acupuncture and stress reduction programs for their subscribers.
It is vital that stress management techniques are implemented into our daily lives. As mentioned earlier, some stress is good, but we need to find that optimal level of stress, which will motivate but not overwhelm us. Coping with stress is an individualized task and one method over another may not be superior, so find what works for you and master it. A person that is stressed takes so much away from his or her health and performance levels. Reducing stress could be as simple has adding exercise to you day or making new friends. To make the most of your life, limit your stress and of course for that stress that you cannot diminish, learn to manage it.
Take a walk, go dancing, stretch, take deep breathes, laugh, play a game, see a movie, express affection, share feelings, sing, paint, write, make new friends, tackle problems head on, give thanks, let go, and laugh some more...
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