According to studies* stress does cause long term or chronic effects on the body. For example. Did you know that chronic stress can result in high blood pressure, abnormal heartbeat and heart failure? People with lots of stress also often have muscle pain, neck an shoulder pain and increased pain from rheumatoid arthritis. American businesses loose and estimated $200 – $300 billion dollars a year to stress related productivity loss and other costs and every week about 95 million Americans suffer some kind of stress related symptom that they take medication for.
But what is Stress exactly?
According to Lesa Burnha in her article ‘Stress your worst enemy’ 2004, Stress is not only a fact of life but a necessary one in small doses. Stress provides the energy boost we need to tackle life’s little hurdles each day. It can be caused by both good and bad experiences. Stress is a signal to the body to release chemicals that give you more energy and strength, which can be a good thing if you are in danger. But constant release of these chemicals over prolonged periods without an outlet can be bad for your health, even deadly.
Stress is a normal response to difficult situations. We often confuse it as some form of mental pressure caused due to our own inability to deal with things. But that’s not what it is. Stress is not an action, it’s a reaction. Stress is our reaction to various external factors.
Before we get to the whole coping part, first we need to understand a few things about stress that are essential.
1. Stress is not always bad
Stress is the body’s way of reacting to a challenge. When faced with a tough situation, there are a whole lot of reactions that the body goes through. Increased pulse rate, adrenaline boost, faster response to stimuli and among those, stress is one.
But the same stress that ‘stresses us out’, also makes us quicker and more prone to handle situations better. Stress makes us do our best. So it isn’t always a bad thing.
2. Stress varies from person to person
Some people are inherently calmer and more composed, compared to others. So, their reactions also are different. Stress levels change vastly across different people and are not to be compared at any stage.
“Stress is not what happens to us. It’s our response TO what happens. And RESPONSE is something we can choose.”
– Maureen Killoran
We live in a world of uncertainty and there’s no escaping this fact. Trying to balance the excess stress in our lives at times might seem like an impossible task, but it is achievable. We all suffer from excess stress at some stage in our lives. And I say suffer, because the symptoms of excess stress can provoke very unpleasant feelings and emotions.
Most of us have lain awake at night tossing and turning unable to sleep because of unresolved issues that torment our minds. We all do and say things in the heat of the moment that we later regret. We get caught up in situations sometimes that are beyond our control and leave us feeling vulnerable and angry. If we can learn how to handle the excess stress in our lives more effectively it will make us calmer, healthier and happier individuals.
One of the best ways to keep yourself healthy and happy is to manage stress effectively. Stress can have a hugely detrimental impact on a person’s health and