Any change in the environment, whether moving from one place to another, waiting in traffic or getting late for an important meeting, can cause our body to react and generate mental, physical or emotional responses. Stress in one of it and is a normal part of life. A control tower in our brain called Hypothalamus, decides to send in the stress hormones! Increasing heart beat and breathing rate. Stress is expressed by everyone anywhere from time to time. Studies have also shown that for short-term situations, stress can be beneficial for the body and helps in coping up with any sensitive crisis.
How does stress affect health?
Stress, either good or bad, is experienced due to our thoughts, body and environment or actions and efforts, like when you want to go climb the mount kilimanjaro. Prolonged stress levels can take a toll on one’s health. Chronic stress may occur, leading to variety of symptoms including insomnia, headache, anxiety and depression. It is also one of the factors for change in behavior of an individual such as overreaction, eating disorder, social withdrawal and drug abuse. People with chronic stress get more susceptible to the viral illnesses. The effect on major body systems include:
- Cardiovascular system
Cardiovascular system is affected due to the release of stress hormones. Emphysema patients, in particular, can suffer detrimental effect on their body as stress makes it harder for them to breathe. Heart pumping rate increases and more strength is required by the body to take action.
- Digestive system
Stress may lead to constipation, diarrhea or other problems associated with the digestive system. Release of hormones, triggers the production of extra blood sugar from liver which may increase the risk of diabetes.
- Muscular system
Chronic stress have adverse effect on muscular system of the body. Shoulder pain, headache and back pain is directly linked to the stress developed in the muscles.
- Immune system
Immune system of our body gets weakened and fails to response to any foreign virus or bacteria, due to the stress longer than necessary time. As a result, a person may take more time to recover from any injury or illness.
Measures to manage stress
Stress management is important in order to be more productive and for overall well-being of the body. Important stress relieving strategies includes:
- Physical exercise
- Meditation or yoga
- Relaxation techniques
- Establishing some hobbies such as listening to soft music or reading a book
- Getting insurance to avoid any stress for damage such as health care insurance or moving insurance.
- Plenty of sleep
- Balanced and healthy diet
- Avoid alcohol intake
- Avoiding use of tobacco and excess caffeine
It is highly important to keep check on your health. It may happen sometimes that person is not sure whether the symptom is due to stress and stays long. Hence, it is important to seek help from a doctor. Therapists and counselors may diagnose for potential causes and identify sources. It is also possible that a particular symptom may occur due to some other reason, for example, vigorous exercise can cause pain in muscles and dizziness.