10 Things You Should Know About Stress

Father at computer with screaming child behind him

Stress can have a strong impact on your physical and mental health, as well as your overall well-being. While you can’t completely avoid stress, there are ways to manage it on a daily basis to help prevent or reduce these effects.

Keeping stress under control can help boost your mood and health. Here are 10 things you should know:

1. Stress Can Be Helpful

Stress is a physical reaction that is meant to help you survive while facing a threatening situation.

This can range from physically dangerous situations to non-life-threatening situations that your brain sees as a potential threat to you, such as having to go through a job interview or deal with a personal conflict with a friend or family member.

The physical reaction stress triggers can help you feel motivated to handle these situations.

2. Chronic Stress Can Lead To Severe Health Problems

Although stress can be beneficial in some circumstances, experiencing chronic stress can harm your body and brain on a long-term basis. Stress that happens on a short-term basis, known as acute stress, is temporary.

Chronic stress does not allow your body to go back to functioning at a normal level, which can have a negative impact on different bodily systems, including your immune system, cardiovascular system, and digestive system.

This can result in a higher risk of high blood pressure, depression and other mental health disorders, diabetes, and other serious problems.

3. Stress Can Cause A Wide Range Of Physical Symptoms

Experiencing stress can affect your body in numerous ways. You might have headaches or lightheadedness, as well as sore muscles or muscle tension.

Stress can also cause:

  • digestive problems or an upset stomach
  • chest pain
  • fatigue
  • sleep issues

4. Stress Can Lead to Mood Problems

Dealing with stress, especially on a daily basis, can impact your mood. You might become restless or have trouble concentrating. Stress can also cause you to feel more irritable or angry than usual. You might feel overwhelmed as well or experience anxiety or feelings of sadness that linger.

5. Stress Can Affect Your Behavior

Stress is more than feeling worried about something that could happen or something that is happening. In addition to affecting your body and brain, stress can lead to changes in your behavior.

You might eat more than usual or have a reduced appetite. You might also become withdrawn from friends and family or lash out at others. Stress can cause you to feel unmotivated in terms of physical activity as well, leading you to get less exercise than usual.

6. Finances And Work Are Common Causes Of Stress

In the U.S., finances and job-related concerns are among the leading causes of stress, especially on an ongoing basis.

However, stress can come from many other sources as well, including trauma, major illnesses, and other significant life changes, such as losing a loved one or going through a divorce.

7. Some Forms Of Stress Relief Can Be Harmful

There are many ways to ease stress, but some of these can be harmful for you. For example, turning to alcohol or drugs to relieve stress or developing unhealthy eating habits to cope with stress can affect your physical and mental health.

These harmful forms of stress relief can lower your quality of life and end up causing health issues, resulting in more stress.

Inactive forms of stress relief, such as spending hours watching TV or online, can also increase stress over time. Fortunately, there are many healthy ways to manage stress.

8. Mindfulness Can Ease Stress

Mindfulness is a simple yet highly effective way to manage stress on a daily basis. This practice involves focusing your mind on the present and your current emotions.

There are different ways to do this, such as focusing on your breathing when your mind starts to wander. Mindfulness can take time to get used to doing, but it can significantly reduce the amount of stress you feel on a regular basis.

9. Simple Lifestyle Changes Can Relieve Stress

Taking good care of your body and brain can help you manage stress and lower your risk of developing physical and mental health problems.

This includes eating a nutritious diet and avoiding unhealthy foods, getting regular exercise, and making sure you get good sleep night after night. Going to bed earlier and doing a calming activity, such as reading, can help you sleep better.

10. Professional Counseling Can Help With Stress Management

In some cases, stress can be overwhelming, which can make it hard to manage on your own. You can get the help you need through professional therapy or counseling.

Working with a mental health professional can provide you with the tools you need to effectively manage stress in your daily life.

Mayo Clinic - Stress Symptoms: Effects on Your Body and Behavior

National Institute of Health - 5 Things You Should Know About Stress

NHS - Stress

NIH News in Health - Feeling Stressed? Stress Relief Might Help Your Health

Very Well Mind - Top 10 Things to Know About the Effects of Stress

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