In today’s culture, stress is a given. From the moment we wake, throughout the day, and sadly for some, throughout the night, stress and its effects exist. The saying that stress is a given and the only control is how you react to it works for some as a reminder to “calm down”, but not everyone.
For those that can’t just calm down without help, and can’t remove themselves from the stressors, consider some of the ramifications of ongoing stress. When it is prolonged and unresolved, stress will eventually affect not only your mental wellbeing but also your physical wellbeing.
The causes of stress are numerous and varied and unique to the individual. What sends one person into a tailspin may have no effect on another person. There are happy situations that cause stress such as planning a celebration or organizing to take a much needed vacation. But mostly, stress is created from undesirable circumstances such as relationship discord, work or financial trouble, health issues, and all the way up to our current global turmoil.
The effects of stress vary by person. A normally healthy individual may find they are experiencing more frequent illness such as contracting whatever virus or bacterial infection is circulating and finding it harder and harder to recover. Another person may be told that their blood pressure is now elevated. Some may experience the onset of digestive issues, or metabolic issues such as pre-diabetes or diabetes. Still others may experience more aches and pains, fatigue and sleep disorders, or roller coaster mood swings.
Emotional stressors, if not addressed or if one is not able to avoid them, will eventually have a physiological effect because emotions trigger chemical reactions in our body. The interplay of emotional triggers on hormones, neurotransmitters, and other biologic functions is well established.
Brief episodes of stress, in a healthy individual, should not have a long term effects. The body will experience a “fight or flight” response, but all systems should return to normal once that stressor ends. However, when in constant hypervigilant state, the potential for illness escalates.
You may feel “tired and wired” at the same time. You may start to note more irritability, fatigue, cravings for sweet or salty foods, weight gain, low back pain and muscle tension, headaches, body temperature fluctuations, all the way to the onset of memory and cognitive decline. And you may find your healthcare practitioners advising you to begin medications and make lifestyle changes.
In a previous article I wrote, I discuss some of the areas to consider for better mental wellbeing. You may wish to read it here.
In addition to those tips and if you are concerned about the effects that stress is having on your life I urge you to do what you can regarding stress management. If you are not working with your healthcare team to address it, or if you don’t have a practitioner, consider contacting me.
I offer an “a la carte “service for stress assessment analysis to help you determine your current level of stress and how it may be affecting you. So far, those that have used this tool received insightful information. And those that have gone on to work with me as a client and further pursue support are noting tremendous benefits and improvement in a short period of time. You may contact me through my website and state “stress assessment analysis” on the contact form.
Stress is a given, how it will affect your current or ongoing physical and mental health is up to you based on how and what you choose to manage it.
Wishing you health, some respite from your chaos, and living your best life.