Most of us have at least a bit of stress in our lives. Small levels of intermittent stress are normal and are even beneficial for us. Physically, stress keeps your brain more alert which can improve performance. Mentally, stress helps with self-protection and preservation, engaging the “fight or flight” response to dangerous situations.
While some stress undoubtedly has an evolutionary advantage, when this intermittent stress response becomes constant day in and day out, it stops being an advantage and becomes a threat to your physical, psychological, and emotional well-being.
According to the NCBI, physiological stress can cause increased heart rate and oxygen demand, resulting in the constriction of the heart’s arteries and an increased risk of a heart attack. Stress also affects mental fitness, memory, learning capabilities, and your gastrointestinal and immune systems.
There are many different causes of stress, and each person processes and responds to their stressors differently. The key is understanding the causes and triggers of stress and learning coping strategies to reduce or eliminate them before they become a problem.
The Symptoms Of Stress
The signs and symptoms of stress are expressed in multiple ways and affect your body, your mood, and your behavior.
Stress Affects Your Body
Impacts of stress on the body can be manifested as:
- Chest Pain
- Muscle tension or pain
- Sleep problems
- Erectile dysfunction
- Upset stomach
Stress also comes with Increased pre-natal health risks for both mother and baby.
Stress Affects Your Mood
The mood is highly affected by stress and can be expressed with:
- Mood swings
- Overwhelmed feeling
- Depression and sadness
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of concentration
- Lowered sex drive
- Seeing only the negative
Stress Affects Your Behavior
When stress impacts your physical health and mental health, it can lead to unhealthy and dangerous behaviors including:
- Angry outbursts and emotional abuse
- Less exercise
- Social withdrawal
- Drug & alcohol abuse
- Reduced personal hygiene
- Nervous habits such as nail-biting & picking at your skin
- Poor judgment
Dealing With The Symptoms Of Stress
When you feel yourself getting stressed, it helps to have some coping strategies to alleviate any stress symptoms you’re feeling. Breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation have all been shown to reduce stress.
A psychologist or counselor is a great resource to help you discover the root causes of your stress and to work through and manage it safely and effectively.
Removing The Causes Of Stress
As a society, we are more stressed than ever before. According to the Australian Psychological Society, “35 percent of Australians report having a significant level of distress in their lives.”
With so much stress every day, it’s more important than ever that we try to identify our sources of stress and attempt to reduce or eliminate these triggers from our lives.
Some of the most common causes of stress include:
- Chronic illness
- Relationship problems
- Death of a loved one
- Losing a job
- Pressures from work
- Pressures from school
- Financial problems
- Traumatic events
It’s important to remember that stress is a highly individualistic response to certain situations and events. What’s stressful for one person may not be stressful for another. How we deal with it also differs from person to person.
When talking about stress, the health and well-being of both men and women are on the line. Pregnant mothers suffering from stress should speak to their GPs about antenatal management and shared care.
Remember, stress isn’t something you have to deal with alone. If you are feeling overly stressed and need help, contact King Street Medical today on 02 4243 9250 and speak with one of our friendly staff to book an appointment.