Stressing over Stress? The Negative Effects of Stress and How You Can Avoid It
We stress about stress before there’s even stress to stress about. And then we stress over things that don’t need to be stressed about. We’re plagued by stress and it surrounds our lives each and every day. But stress isn’t just an annoyance, it’s also harmful to our health. About 75-90% of doctor’s visits are related to stress, and therefore it is important that we understand the risks related to stress and how we can eliminate the stress in our life.
Negative Effects of Stress
About 43% of adults report experiencing the negative health effects of stress. Even the smallest stressor such as someone cutting you off on the road, or running late to a meeting, can lead to a slew of health problems.
Digestive Issues: When you’re stressed out do you reach for that tub of ice-cream or extra bag of chips? Or maybe you lose your appetite or even develop irritable bowel syndrome? This is because stress affects the way food moves through your body.
Weakened Immune System: No one is immune from stress and stress reduces our immunity to fight diseases. To respond to stress, our immune system builds cortisol which reduces inflammation. However, if cortisol is present in the blood for too long, the body begins to develop a resistance to it, inhibiting inflammatory responses to intruders that cause infection. Therefore, people under heavy amounts of stress are more susceptible to colds.
High Blood Sugar and Diabetes: Another bodily response to stress is an increase in glucose, or blood sugar by the liver. This puts people under chronic stress at a risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.
Sometimes it may seem hard to get over stress, but you have more control over the stress in your life than you may think. You may not be able to eliminate the stressor, but you can work to manage the stress when it is presented.
Mediate: A clear mind heals the body. For just ten minutes a day, focus on the now and clear your mind of any thoughts. A great way to do this is through yoga. It can clear you mind as well as bring down your blood pressure, heart rate, and ease breathing.
Exercise: Physical activity has an effect on reducing stress levels. If you’re experiencing stress, go out for a run or a hike to give your body a work out and distract you from your stressor.
Support Network: Simply having someone to talk to can help reduce the weight on your shoulders. All you need is someone that will listen to you and it will immediately take the load off.
The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over the other. When we change our attitude and change our thinking, we can rid ourselves of stress and its negative effects.