A General Overview Of Stress
First and foremost, there are several different kinds of stress. Acute stress is the most frequent form of stress and generally happens when minor frustrations or pressures arise. In most cases, acute stress is short-term and can be overcome with some perhaps even minimal effort. Short-term, minor stress is the mildest manifestation of stress, and it is not typically something to worry about.
Next comes episodic acute stress. This is the next level of stress and tends to occur when acute stress becomes habitual or consistent. When someone is regularly going through episodic acute stress, this is sometimes a sign that they may not have resolved an ongoing problem in their life. In other cases, episodic acute stress can be a warning sign that a change is necessary. Episodic acute stress is especially problematic because people are more susceptible to adapting to it rather than working through it to minimize or eliminate it.
Changes The Brains Structure
Your brain is composed of both gray matter and white matter. Gray matter is used for decision-making and problem-solving, while white matter is used to connect regions of the brain and communicate information. It has been noted that during times of chronic stress, the myelin sheaths that make up white matter become overproduced, while less gray matter is produced. When this happens, there can be an imbalance in gray and white matter. In some cases, this results in permanent changes to the brains structure.
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Signs Stress Is Making You Sick
A little stress can actually be a good thing. In small spurts, it’s what motivates you to prep for a major test or work presentation, or makes your palms go sweaty in anticipation of a first date. Too much stress, on the other hand, can be overwhelming emotionally and even detrimental to your physical health.
“Just like our feelings give us information about our needs, so do our bodies through physiological feedback,” says Eliza Chamblin, a therapist in New York City who specializes in stress management. “If you are noticing any physical or somatic symptoms, consider it as valuable information telling you that something isnt right.”
Not sure what those physical signs might be? Here are 6 potential indications that stress is making you sick, plus what to do for each situation.
More Susceptible To Mental Illness
An imbalance between white and gray matter can also play a role in the development of mental illness. The theory is that having excess myelin in certain areas of the brain interferes with the timing and balance of communication. It was also noted that chronic stress can negatively alter hippocampal function. The hippocampus is involved in memory, specifically spatial memory, memory consolidation, and memory transfer.
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Workplace Stress For Women
Everyone in todays supercharged workplaces experiences stress, and the have it all generation of women is feeling the strain, with working women facing more stress than their male counterparts. The 2019 Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey reveals workplace stress is on the rise in the UAE, with the burden tilting more towards women.
What Are The Symptoms Of Stress
Stress can affect you emotionally, mentally and physically, according to the NHS.
Emotionally, many feel overwhelmed, wound up and anxious.
Feeling frazzled may also put a downer on their mood, leave them unable to enjoy themselves and cause a looming sense of dread, according to the charity Mind.
Others may become anxious and afraid or feel neglected and lonely.
Struggling to cope with stressful situations can also take its toll on our mental wellbeing.
Many battle racing thoughts, constant worrying, and difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
Perhaps surprisingly, stress can also affect us physically.
In more severe cases, sufferers may hyperventilate, have panic attacks, grind their teeth, endure chest pain or see their blood pressure rise.
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Workplace Stress Kills Employee Health And Productivity
Anyone who has ever had a job has, at some point, felt the pressure of work-related stress. Any occupation can have stressful elements even if you love what you do. From time to time, you may experience pressure in meeting a deadline or fulfilling a challenging task. However, when work stress becomes recurrent, it can be overwhelming and damaging to both physical and emotional well-being.
In fact, in 2015, an analysis of almost 300 studies found that harmful workplace practices were as bad for mortality, and as likely to lead to a physician-diagnosed illness, as second-hand smoke, a known and regulated carcinogen. Harmful workplace practices include long, irregular or unpredictable working hours, work-family conflict, economic insecurity arising from job loss, lack of job control and, in some countries, an absence of health insurance.
The World Economic Forum estimates that chronic diseases consume some three-quarters of healthcare spending worldwide, while non-communicable diseases account for 63 percent of all deaths.
Below are a few tips on how to achieve a better work/life balance:
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Ways To Stick To Health
Trying to run a marathon or lose 20 kilos? An ambitious goal can often inspire not only yourself, but also others around you. With enough support and perseverance, you can do it! Break up these goals into small steps that take you forward. Make a list of tasks that start with the easy stuff. The more boxes you check off, the more inclined youll be to get all the way to the end!
How Can You Tell When Stress Is Harmful
Stress itself is neither inherently good nor bad. Its simply how your brain and body respond to life and anything that disrupts your emotional or physiological balance.2 Stress can actually be helpful, increasing motivation and energy so you can respond to problems and enjoy pleasant experiences. This type of positive stress is called eustress.5
Its when the fight-or-flight reaction becomes chronically activated, either staying on for extended periods or stuck in a continual, erratic, roller coaster ride of on and off status, that it is harmful. Stress attacks us on multiple fronts, impacting the body and brain , the mind , and our behavior. The sympathetic nervous system involves the regions of the brain associated with mood, motivation, and fear.6 As previously mentioned, the sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the fight-or-flight response.
Therefore, tuning in to all of these experiences can help you know when youre experiencing harmful stress. If you are experiencing stressors in your life and begin to notice physical or mental health symptoms that dont go away, it could be a sign that stress may be taking a toll on your health and wellbeing.
If your mood, emotions, or physical health isnt how you want it to be, stress management techniques may help.
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How To Manage Stress
Stress is harmful on two fronts: internal and external. Internally, chronic activation of the sympathetic nervous system and living in a near-constant state of fight-or-flight can contribute to serious illness. Externally, stressful situations contribute to unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking, substance use, unhealthy eating habits, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Determining what you are experiencing both internally and externally can help you deal with it.8 Spend some time investigating what makes you feel stressed, where you feel it in your body and mind, and how you deal with it in your actions. Then, you can create a plan that incorporates stress management tips into your daily life.
What To Do If Youre Experiencing Stress
- Avoid high-caffeine stimulants, especially coffee. That cup of java fuels nerves and bowels worsening both stress and stomach issues.
- Try gentle yoga movements, like legs-up-the-wall pose or restorative child’s pose.
- See your medical doctor, so you can rule out any underlying physical conditions, like food allergies or side effects from medications.
- Try out therapy types like cognitive behavioral therapy or relaxation therapy. Both of these may help you manage your reactions to perceived stressors.
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Stress Kills Brain Cells
In a study conducted by researchers from the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, researchers discovered that a single socially-stress event could kill new neurons in the brain’s hippocampus.
The hippocampus is one of the regions of the brain heavily associated with memory, emotion, and learning. It is also one of the two areas of the brain where neurogenesis, or the formation of new brain cells, occurs throughout life.
In experiments, the research team placed young rats in a cage with two older rats for a period of 20 minutes. The young rat was then subjected to aggression from the more mature residents of the cage. Later examination of the young rats found that they had cortisol levels up to six times higher than that of rats who had not experienced a stressful social encounter.
Further examination revealed that while the young rats placed under stress had generated the same number of new neurons as those who had not experienced the stress, there was a marked reduction in the number of nerve cells a week later.
While stress does not appear to influence the formation of new neurons, it does impact whether or not those cells survive.
So stress can kill brain cells, but is there anything that can be done to minimize the damaging impact of stress?
Surprising Ways That Stress Affects Your Brain
Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments.
Stress is a familiar and common part of daily life. Stress happens each and every day and comes in a wide variety of forms. It might be the stress of trying to juggle family, work, and school commitments. It might involve issues like health, money, and relationships.
In each instance where we face a potential threat, our minds and bodies go into action, mobilizing to either deal with the issues or avoid the problem .
You have probably heard all about how bad stress is for your mind and body. It can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches and chest pain. It can produce mood problems such as anxiety or sadness. It can even lead to behavioral problems such as outbursts of anger or overeating.
What you might not know is that stress can also have a serious impact on your brain. In the face of stress, your brain goes through a series of reactionssome good and some baddesigned to mobilize and protect itself from potential threats. Sometimes stress can help sharpen the mind and improve the ability to remember details about what is happening.
Stress can have negative effects on the body and brain. Research has found that stress can produce a wide range of negative effects on the brain ranging from contributing to mental illness to actually shrinking the volume of the brain.
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How Does Stress Mess With Your Sleep
Stress Hormones In The Blood
The stress hormone cortisol helps regulate sugar levels in the body. Cortisol levels vary throughout the day, but typically follow a circadian rhythm where they are highest in the morning, drop steadily, and then build up again overnight. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health found depressed patients tend to have abnormally high cortisol levels. Scientists still dont know what this means, but it points to one of the many ways that stress-related disorders may interact with and disrupt normal body cycles.
This article was originally published in the of Popular Science, as part of our Science of Stress feature. To find out more about stress and how to beat it, read on.
Over Time If Its Something You Dont Have A Say In
If the cause of your stress is something you cant easily alter workplace issues, for example there are still coping mechanisms you can put in place:
- Accept that you cant change everything. Instead, focus on the things you do have power over.
- Prioritize the most important tasks. Dont worry if you dont get around to finishing them all in one day. You can carry on tomorrow.
- Make time for yourself. That can be as simple as going for a walk during your lunch break or setting aside time to watch an episode of your favorite show each evening.
- Plan ahead. If youre approaching a difficult day or busy event, make a to-do list and organize a backup plan to help you feel more in control.
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All About Abu Dhabi Health Insurance Law
Learn all about the mandatory Abu Dhabi health insurance law and its various implications on the residents, employers, employees and their dependents.
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Stress Kills Heres How To Kill It First No Matter What We Do Stress Seems To Be Our Constant Companion Here Are Some Simple Foods To Keep It At Bay
Have you ever felt stressed? If your answer is no, you are either a liar or a saint who has achieved nirvana.
For everybody else, stress is a fact of life, a constant companion that erodes our physical and mental health, and shortens our lifespans. Each and every one of us undergoes stress in our daily lives. Whether its our work or our personal lives, whether you are rich or poor, you just cant seem to escape it.
But not all stress is bad for you. Good stress, for instance is when we feel excited about something, when our hormones surge and our pulse speeds up, but its not due to a threat or fear. Do you remember falling in love? That promotion, that first date, that euphoric feeling when you achieved something which you never thought you could? That feeling of being alive and excited about life?
Bad stress, on the other hand, is when we worry and fret over our lives. It increases our heart beat, wearing it out before its time. It raises our blood pressure and cholesterol. It increases cortisol, a type of hormone responsible for controlling blood sugar, and raises the sugar level in our body, which can lead to insulin resistance and high blood sugar. It weakens our bones, makes us prone to obesity, gives us restless sleep, and aggravates conditions like heartburn and inflammatory bowel problems. In fact, its one of the leading causes of premature death across the world.
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How Much Stress Is Too Much
Because of the widespread damage stress can cause, its important to know your own limit. But just how much stress is too much differs from person to person. Some people seem to be able to roll with lifes punches, while others tend to crumble in the face of small obstacles or frustrations. Some people even thrive on the excitement of a high-stress lifestyle.
Factors that influence your stress tolerance level include:
Your support network. A strong network of supportive friends and family members is an enormous buffer against stress. When you have people you can count on, lifes pressures dont seem as overwhelming. On the flip side, the lonelier and more isolated you are, the greater your risk of succumbing to stress.
Your sense of control. If you have confidence in yourself and your ability to influence events and persevere through challenges, its easier to take stress in stride. On the other hand, if you believe that you have little control over your lifethat youre at the mercy of your environment and circumstancesstress is more likely to knock you off course.
Your attitude and outlook. The way you look at life and its inevitable challenges makes a huge difference in your ability to handle stress. If youre generally hopeful and optimistic, youll be less vulnerable. Stress-hardy people tend to embrace challenges, have a stronger sense of humor, believe in a higher purpose, and accept change as an inevitable part of life.