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Stress is, most of the time, inevitable and is part of our everyday lives. With our busy schedules and the fast-paced environment, stress has affected various areas in our lives. It's true that some people need medication to treat their frequent headaches, insomnia, and low productivity at work. That's why it is vital for everyone to get informed about stress, its effects, and how to deal with it.
Stress can affect your general mood and behaviour. It can cause exhaustion in the body and lack of enthusiasm to perform daily activities. Stress is also related to various behaviours such as anger, overeating or undereating, fewer social interactions and less physical activity.
According to WebMD, "Stress can be harmful to people who use tobacco and other chemicals that can relieve stress." Instead of helping out to relieve the stress, these chemicals can make your body on a stressed state and can cause a lot of problems.
Cleavelandclinic.org defines stress as “the body's reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response.” When our body is on a state of fear, we may experience panic which releases some chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol. In a medical and biological concept, stress can be a physical, mental or emotional factor that causes body or mental tension.
Stress can also be external or internal. Internal stress may include stress-inducing thoughts and behaviours, and it comes from one psychological mindset or expectation. Example of this is putting pressure on yourself to be perfect. This can also lead to a serious condition such as depression or anxiety. External stress, on the other hand, refers to the forces that you can't control easily. Examples of this are urgent deadlines or an upcoming exam. People with large amounts of stress can become tired, sick, and unable to think and function clearly.
Stress can affect your life severely in many different ways. When stress becomes uncontrollable, it becomes chronic and can create massive impacts on your life. Below are some of the factors of how stress can affect your lifestyle.
Unhealthy Food Cravings. These are intense and uncontrollable desires for specific foods. These types of food are usually junk foods that are high in sugar. Unhealthy cravings due to stress can be dangerous as some of the foods that we eat when we are under pressure are high in fats and sugar. This may lead to health problems such as weight gain, diabetes, heart problems, and other medical conditions.
Increase Risk of Cardiovascular Disease. Stress increases the risk of heart attacks, heart diseases and strokes. Chronic stress has a direct link to the risk of a heart attack. When under stress, your heart rate increases and your arteries constrict, which can cause the heart rhythm. It also increases blood pressure and may contribute to inflammation.
It Affects Your Sleep Habits. Stress negatively affects the quality of your sleep. Feeling anxious and worrying too much are two of the factors that affect the mind and makes it impossible to relax. Not having enough sleep can make you focus less on essential things at work and home that could lead to even more stress.
Contributes to Aging. Stress contributes to ageing as this response to the physiological process. This is maybe due to the lack of blood flow to the skin, and this affects how you look. Stress also allows more toxins to cross blood-brain barriers.
Chronic Stress Affects Mood and Relationship. Constant stress affects your sleep patterns and makes you irritable. This can lead to difficulty in relaxing and often leads to depression. Having depression damages the quality of life and affects the relationship with others. It is associated with a feeling of helplessness and lack of control.
All of us can try to learn how to manage stress and lead to a happier and healthy lifestyle. Here are some of the tips on how we can fight stress and anxiety.
Spend Time With Family and Friends. Having social support from family and friends can help you get through stressful times. Spending quality time with them helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever.
Learn How To Avoid Procrastination. Another way to control your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and avoid procrastinating. Procrastination often leads you to have things done later, and this is not good when it comes to deadlines. This can cause stress, which can negatively affect your health. One of the ways that can help us prevent procrastination is by being organized and having a habit of making a to-do list.
Reduce Caffeine. Coffee contains a stimulant which is known as caffeine. Having high doses of caffeine increases anxiety. People have different thresholds of caffeine, which can be tolerated by the body. If it makes you jittery, consider cutting it down. Many studies have proven that coffee is healthy, but this must be taken in moderation.
Listening To Soothing Music. Music can have a relaxing effect on our body. Slow paced music can induce relaxation and help in calming down your senses. Also, nature sounds can be calming; that is why this is often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music.
Practice Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the act of being conscious and aware of something. It is a practice that anchor you to be at the present moment. It often fights the anxieties that can lead to negativity. There are several ways on how to increase mindfulness, but one of the most straightforward techniques is through yoga and meditation.
Stress can always be around us, and we cannot always prevent this from recurring to our workplace and personal life. One way on how to reduce the stress is through peace of mind. It is through mindfulness and proper relaxation that we can handle stress better to help improve our overall work-life balance.