Can you feel it? The silent killer lurking around inside of you. While you read this article its constricting your blood vessels, taxing your heart, and overworking your adrenal glands. While you worry about what went on throughout your day, it slowly builds inside of you. The silent killer’s name is stress, and billions across the world are held captive by its grasp each day.
Stress is one of the number one killers in America. Stress contributes to a whole host of health problems and complications, and a huge percentage of people around the entire world are living their lives under excessive stress loads every day. In a society where pressure is rampant, multitasking is required, and people have to make decisions that affect their well being for years to come, it’s no wonder people are ready to explode when they get in a fender bender or get cut off in traffic.
What is stress?
Stress is the body’s natural reaction to immediate or perceived threats; as you perceive danger or stress, your body goes through a process of releasing hormones and endorphins that increase blood pressure and heart rate, temporarily increase mental acuity, increase respiratory rate, increase energy, and narrow your visual field for increased focus.
That sounds great, so why shouldn’t I stress all the time exactly?
Your body is only designed to handle stress for short periods of time and it is incredibly taxing on the body. For short periods, such as being in immediate danger, giving a presentation, or during a workout, we can actually use stress to increase our intensity and perform better, but the body quickly becomes tired of high loads of stress and will begin to perform with decreasing efficiency.
How does too much stress effect the body?
Too much stress can: decrease productivity, cause lack of focus and motivation, contribute to depression, elevate blood pressure, increase heart rate, cause extreme fatigue, cause sleep problems, cause muscle tension and increase risk of injury, increase stroke and heart attack risk, increase risk of type 2 diabetes, contribute to obesity and overeating, contribute to stress ulcers and other stomach pain, drain the immune system, lower testosterone, cause irregular menstrual cycles and contribute to PMS, and increase the risk of addiction.
Ok that sounds bad…What are the symptoms of too much stress?
Chronic fatigue, sleep problems, increased resting heart rate, recurring skin problems or getting sick frequently, frequent diarrhea or stomach discomfort, sudden weight gain (especially around midsection), trouble focusing on tasks, depression, lack of motivation, mood swings or chronic irritability, and becoming overly emotional can all indicate that your stress levels are too high.
So what do I do to relieve all this extra stress that I am dealing with?