Friday, June 9, 2023

What Can Stress Do To You

Why Do Certain Things Make Me Feel Stressed

How stress affects your body – Sharon Horesh Bergquist

The amount of stress you feel in different situations may depend on many factors such as:

  • your perception of the situation this might be connected to your past experiences, your self-esteem, and how your thought processes work
  • your emotional resilience to stressful situations
  • the amount of other pressures on you at the time
  • the amount of support you are receiving.

We’re all different, so a situation that doesn’t bother you at all might cause someone else a lot of stress. For example, if you’re feeling confident or usually enjoy public speaking, you might find that giving a speech in front of people feels comfortable and fun. But if you’re feeling low or usually prefer not to be the centre of attention, this situation might cause you to experience signs of stress.

“I get stressed when things get out of perspective too much work, thinking too far ahead.”

Signs Symptoms And Diagnosis

Stress that is not controlled and continues for a long period of time can cause a number of psychological and physical symptoms. Psychological symptoms of stress can include:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Recurrent colds and flu .

If you think that stress may be the cause of psychological or physical symptoms, talk with your doctor. They will discuss your medical history and circumstances, causes of stress that may be present in your life, and your ways of dealing with stress. Your doctor will also aim to rule out any other physical or mental illness that may be the cause of the symptoms.

The Effects Of Chronic Stress

Your nervous system isnt very good at distinguishing between emotional and physical threats. If youre super stressed over an argument with a friend, a work deadline, or a mountain of bills, your body can react just as strongly as if youre facing a true life-or-death situation. And the more your emergency stress system is activated, the easier it becomes to trigger, making it harder to shut off.

If you tend to get stressed out frequently, like many of us in todays demanding world, your body may exist in a heightened state of stress most of the time. And that can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can suppress your immune system, upset your digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process. It can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.

Health problems caused or exacerbated by stress include:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Skin conditions, such as eczema
  • Heart disease
  • Thinking and memory problems
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    When Stress Goes Unaddressed It Finds A Place In Your Unconscious Or Your Body

    Posted November 24, 2016

    Sometimes stress can be a good thing. The anxiety of having a deadline to meet might get you to actually meet that deadline. Or the anxiety of having to make a difficult decision might get you to think thoughtfully and finally make that decision.

    Stress can come from remembering some very unpleasant things that you do not want to remember. It can cause or contribute to backaches, neck aches, Irritable Bowel syndrome and other digestive syndromes. It can prevent you from recovering from a medical illness or can make a medical illness worse. It can make you break out in skin rashes. It can cause you to eat a lot when you are not physically hungry by causing uncontrolled food cravings. Stress can cause you to obsess endlessly about your weight and might even bring on an eating disorder. It can cause you to drink far more than is good for you, or use drugs, prescribed or otherwise, to calm yourself down. Some people get temporary relief from anxious or depressed feelings by hurting themselves in some way. Stress can get you to go on a shopping or gambling spree, providing yourself with something of a high. Sex can be very calming and you might find yourself initiating it with the wrong people, in a way you might regret. All these addictive kinds of behavior may help you to feel better temporarily but because they are addictive, they can cause much bigger problems for you in the long run.

    Central Nervous And Endocrine Systems

    How Stress Can Affect Your Looks And What You Can Do To ...

    Your central nervous system is in charge of your fight or flight response. In your brain, the hypothalamus gets the ball rolling, telling your adrenal glands to release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones rev up your heartbeat and send blood rushing to the areas that need it most in an emergency, such as your muscles, heart, and other important organs.

    When the perceived fear is gone, the hypothalamus should tell all systems to go back to normal. If the CNS fails to return to normal, or if the stressor doesnt go away, the response will continue.

    Chronic stress is also a factor in behaviors such as overeating or not eating enough, alcohol or drug abuse, and social withdrawal.

    Read Also: How Can You Stop Stress

    Heart Health Apps To Download Now

    But even short-term stress can have a profound impact on your heart if its bad enough. The condition cardiomyopathy, also known as broken-heart syndrome, is a weakening of the heart’s left ventricle that usually results from severe emotional or physical stress.

    Although the condition is in general rare, 90 percent of cases are in women.

    Cardiomyopathy can occur in very stressful situations, such as after a huge fight, the death of a child, or other major triggers, Dr. Haythe says. Patients come into the emergency room with severe chest pain and other symptoms of what we call acute heart failure syndrome, though their coronary arteries are clear. They can be very sick, but with treatment, most of the time, people recover.

    Decreased Energy And Insomnia

    Chronic fatigue and can also be caused by prolonged stress.

    For example, one study of 2,483 people found that fatigue was strongly associated with increased stress levels .

    Stress may also disrupt sleep and cause insomnia, which can lead to low energy.

    One small study found that higher levels of work-related stress were associated with increased sleepiness and restlessness at bedtime .

    Another study of 2,316 participants showed that experiencing a higher number of stressful events was significantly associated with an increased risk of insomnia .

    These studies show an association, but they dont account for other factors that may have played a role. Further research is needed to determine if stress can directly cause decreased energy levels.

    Other factors that may play a role in decreased energy levels include dehydration, low blood sugar, a poor diet or an underactive thyroid.

    Summary Stress is associated with fatigue and disruptions in sleep, which may result in decreased energy levels.

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    Managing Stress In Daily Life

    Stress is not an illness itself, but it can cause serious illness if it isn’t addressed. It’s important to recognise the symptoms of stress early. Recognising the signs and symptoms of stress will help you figure out ways of coping and save you from adopting unhealthy coping methods, such as drinking or smoking.

    There is little you can do to prevent stress, but there are many things you can do to manage stress more effectively, such as learning how to relax, taking regular exercise and adopting good time-management techniques.

    Studies have found that mindfulness courses, where participants are taught simple meditations across a series of weeks, can also help to reduce stress and improve mood.

    Aok Online Program: Stress Under Control

    How stress affects your brain – Madhumita Murgia

    Stress is a powerful factor that can undoubtedly be linked to stomach pain. Those who focus specifically on stress management are not only doing something for their general health but can also ensure more well-being in the stomach. The AOK has launched a special program for this purpose.

    The online program Stress under control aims to relieve stress and prevent it effectively. After signing up, the goal is to understand the basics of stress.

    Since stress is always something individual, the program pays attention to personal stress patterns. After the analysis, the Stress under Control initiative accompanies the insured for four weeks with specific recommendations this is what modern stress management looks like today. The online program is available to insured persons free of charge.

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    Signs And Symptoms Of Stress Overload

    The most dangerous thing about stress is how easily it can creep up on you. You get used to it. It starts to feel familiar, even normal. You dont notice how much its affecting you, even as it takes a heavy toll. Thats why its important to be aware of the common warning signs and symptoms of stress overload.

    Cognitive symptoms:

    • Other mental or emotional health problems

    Physical symptoms:

    • Chest pain, rapid heart rate
    • Loss of sex drive
    • Sleeping too much or too little
    • Withdrawing from others
    • Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
    • Nervous habits

    Recognising Your Stress Triggers

    If you’re not sure what’s causing your stress, keep a diary and make a note of stressful episodes for two-to-four weeks. Then review it to spot the triggers.

    Things you might want to write down include:

    • the date, time and place of a stressful episode
    • what you were doing
    • a stress rating

    You can use the diary to:

    • work out what triggers your stress
    • work out how you operate under pressure
    • develop better coping mechanisms

    Doctors sometimes recommend keeping a stress diary to help them diagnose stress.

    Also Check: How To Relieve Stress And Anxiety At Home

    How To Solve Problems

    Once you have identified the problems that are leading to stress in your life, this structured problem-solving exercise can help you to find solutions.

  • List the problems that are worrying or distressing you and write them down.
  • Identify which problem is causing you the most stress and write it down.
  • Work out all the options to deal with the problem and write them down.
  • List the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
  • Identify the best option to deal with the problem.
  • List the steps you need to carry out this option.
  • Carry out the option. Afterwards, think about whether it worked and whether you would do this again.
  • This technique has been adapted from Beyond Blue.

    Practical Ways To Handle Stress

    5 Things You Can Do to Reduce Stress That You Can Start ...

    Stress is inevitable. It walks in and out of our lives on a regular basis. And it can easily walk all over us unless we take action. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to minimize and cope with stress. Here are 10 ideas for handling stress without causing more strain and hassle.

    1. Figure out where the stress is coming from.

    Oftentimes, when were stressed, it seems like a big mess with stressors appearing from every angle. We start to feel like were playing a game of dodge ball, ducking and darting so we dont get smacked by a barrage of balls. We take a defensive position, and not a good one at that.

    Instead of feeling like youre flailing day to day, identify what youre actually stressed about. Is it a specific project at work, an upcoming exam, a dispute with your boss, a heap of laundry, a fight with your family?

    2. Consider what you can controland work on that.

    While you cant control what your boss does, what your in-laws say or the sour state of the economy, you can control how you react, how you accomplish work, how you spend your time and what you spend your money on.

    The worst thing for stress is trying to take control over uncontrollable things. Because when you inevitably fail since its beyond your control you only get more stressed out and feel helpless. So after youve thought through whats stressing you out, identify the stressors that you can control, and determine the best ways to take action.

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    What Are Some Symptoms Of Stress

    Stress affects everyone differently. Some ways that chronic or long-term stress affects women include:

    • Pain, including back pain
    • Acne and other skin problems, like rashes or hives
    • Headaches
    • Feeling like you have no control
    • Forgetfulness
    • Overeating or not eating enough
    • Being easily angered
    • Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
    • Less interest in sex than usual

    The Good News About Stress

    Not all stress is bad, and the hormones that the body produces in response to stress aren’t, either. Their levels actually fluctuate throughout the day as you adapt to challenges such as waking up , getting stuck in traffic, or being surprised for your birthday.

    Its also possible to manage stress by doing small things like deep breathing, taking a walk, listening to a meditation app, or even grabbing your childs fidget spinner to distract yourself from whatevers stressing you out. Any of these strategies can help short-circuit the bodys fight-or-flight response, stopping the flood of stress hormones from revving up your blood pressure and heart rate.

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    Can Stress Kill You

    AbsolutelyAcute stress is the leading cause of sudden death, especially in young healthy people with no evidence of coronary disease. But it can fell people at any age. My grandmother is an example.

    Chronic stress causes heart disease. It is a clandestine cause not fat or cholesterol of heart attacks and arterial disease. It contributes to high blood pressure , a risk factor for cardiovascular problems such as heart failure and sudden cardiac death and heart enlargement.

    Long-term depression significantly increases the risk of heart disease. Among other effects, it actually triples the disease producing effect of smoking.

    In cardiology, stress is a grim reaper that abruptly ends life by rupturing unstable plaque in a vital vessel or by triggering a lethal disturbance in heart rhythm.

    When you get fired up emotionally, youre putting a torch to your arteries. Medical research has repeatedly documented the danger of anger, chronic stress, and the negative emotional states. Yet these risk factors are rarely addressed by doctors.

    Removing Or Reducing The Causes Of Stress

    What stress can do to your body (and what you can do about it)

    It is important to identify what makes you stressed, then take steps to avoid it or reduce the feelings of stress.

    Everyone is different. What one person finds stressful, another wont. It depends on your personality, cultural background, past experiences, stage of life and what support you have around you.

    Some common causes of stress include:

    • family or relationship breakdowns
    • death of a loved one
    • experiencing a traumatic event, including physical or emotional abuse
    • losing a job
    • having a baby
    • money problems

    Many things that cause stress can be changed, but others are beyond our control. Work out what you can control and take steps to make a change.

    For example, if you are one of the many Australians who is stressed by financial issues, setting up a budget or consulting a financial adviser may help.

    If the stressor is work, it may be possible to change your work hours or job duties. If the problem is relationships, take the time to resolve conflicts.

    It can help to talk to a friend, doctor or counsellor about removing the causes of stress. Dont be afraid to ask for support.

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    How Acute Stress And Chronic Stress Affect You

    When you encounter a stressful situation, stress hormones flood your bloodstream so that you can respond quickly and with strength. Watching your child blindly run across a busy street, for example, might induce a hormonal response that enables you to catch your youngster before any harm is done. Specifically, your pituitary gland discharges ACTH into the bloodstream. ACTH, in turn, catalyzes the release of two catecholamine hormones, epinephrine and norepinephrine , from your sympathetic nerves into the bloodstream. Catecholamines, produced by the adrenal glands, serve as neurotransmitters that signal the body to prepare for emergency action.

    Physiological changes produced include increased heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and muscle tension that serve to supply adequate blood to your brain and musculoskeletal system. Higher levels of free fatty acids and blood sugar are released to provide immediate energy to survive the perceived emergency. This is what we call the well-known fight or flight response.

    This scenario is the leading but often overlooked cause of insomnia and a major contributor to mental ills , as well as physical diseases ranging from the common cold, recurrent herpes and obesity, to AIDS and cancer. It is hard to think of any disease in which stress cannot play a precipitating or aggravating role.

    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.

    Read Also: How Does Stress Contribute To Heart Disease

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