Whether physical or emotional, stress is a response to stimulus. Its physical form can take a toll on your body. For example, carrying heavy weights stresses your joints and muscles, causing you to feel pain. Emotionally, It affects your mental state and can sometimes cause physical harm. For example, if you are worried or nervous about your job, you may feel depressed and develop low self-esteem. If this emotional state is prolonged, physical problems such as headaches, weight loss, and a weakened immune system can manifest due to lack of sleep or loss of appetite.
Believe it or not, stress can be good for you. A little bit of it, like the amounts produced when working against a deadline, increases mental focus and clarity, allowing you to perform the task at hand better. It also triggers a flight-or-fight response, increasing reaction time and, for instance, allowing you to act in time to avoid colliding with a speeding vehicle.
In small doses, the increased alertness helps you cope with daily challenges and can increase your physical and mental health. It can strengthen your immune system, improve memory, and make you feel good about yourself. It can also save your life by speeding your reaction time in the face of danger.
On the other hand, in higher doses, it can be horrible, with devastating adverse effects on your physical health and emotional well-being. Lingering, prolonged stress can wreak havoc on your body’s immune system, causing frequent colds or other sickness. The inevitable disturbance in sleep and appetite can cause you to lose focus, become confused, and be unable to perform daily tasks. It can guide you to weight loss or gain, depending on whether or not you are an emotional eater.
Unfortunately, the negative emotional state can lead to detrimental behaviors, such as smoking, overindulgence in alcohol, and drug use. These self-abusive behaviors only further endanger your health. Over time, you might develop anxiety disorders, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The consequences can be fatal.
If you are overwhelmed by life’s circumstances, step back and try relaxation techniques. Practice breathing exercises, meditate, indulge in massages to relieve tension, and, most importantly, perform physical activities. Training provides natural stress relief, as it releases endorphins that elevate mood. Various stress reduction techniques are available, so find what works best for you. Your body and mind will love you for it!