Stress is the body’s response to change. Each person will deal with a stressful situation in different ways and there is no way to predict how they will manage it.
Some stress is a good thing because it makes life exciting and challenging but too much stress can actually be harmful. If you are able to let the stressful situation go after it happens it can be good. If you tend to hold on to the stress and continue to get wound up about it then that is when it can lead to trouble, causing headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, high blood pressure, chronic illness and a multitude of other problems.
The Body’s response to stress:
- Chemical change – The body automatically prepares itself for “flight or fight”. The heart rate increases, blood pressure rises you begin to breathe faster. Your body releases more adrenaline and cortisol and cholesterol is released into the blood stream.
- Physical change – We may eat too much or too little and we usually reach for those sugary foods instead of healthy foods. We may develop indigestion or diarrhea. Our sleeping patterns may also change either sleeping too much, which may indicate withdrawal, or not sleeping enough which indicates anxiety.
- Emotional changes – Irritability, preoccupation, depression and frustration can all be signs of stress. We may even say or do things we wouldn’t do under normal circumstances.
- Exercise/physical activity will allow you to “burn off” the stress and relax you. It gives you an outlet to work it out.
- Talking to someone allows you to get it “off your chest” as they say and your trusted listener may be able to help you see another side to the situation.
- Sometimes you just have to learn how to accept it especially if it is something you cannot change.
- Make sure you get enough sleep (about 7-8 hours for adults), allowing the mind to rest.
- Eat properly so that your body has the energy to deal with the stress.
- Have fun. Sometimes we get so caught up in the stresses of life that we forget to have fun and laugh.
- Allow yourself to have a good cry; it will relieve some of the anxiety.
- Spend some time meditating or taking deep breaths. Focusing on breathing will take your mind off the stressful situation.
- Stretching will help you “work out” the stress. Moving your neck from side to side or rolling your shoulders forward and backward.
- Getting a massage will allow the masseur to get rid of the physical tension in your muscles.
If you feel you are overly stressed please seek medical attention. Do not self-medicate and do not wait until multiple symptoms arise.