It is a well-known fact that stress can affect our lives in many ways. It can even have an adverse affect on our physical health. Severe stress can actually lead to chronic health conditions. It is important to recognize symptoms of severe stress and learn how to cope with stress.
Stress is the way the body reacts to outside stimuli. Circumstances, events and situations can bring on the stress response. The stress response is also known as fight or flight. The body prepares itself to react to the situation at hand. The sympathetic nerve system takes over releasing adrenal and other chemicals into the blood stream while heartbeat and respiratory rate increase. Our body becomes prepared to fight or flee. In survival situations the fight or flight response is useful but when we suffer from chronic stress our body suffers because it is preparing for fight or flight even when such a response is not necessary.
We all deal with stress in our daily lives. We sometimes worry needlessly which may cause various levels of anxiety. We often worry about future events and envision negative outcomes which can keep us in a constant stressed state until the event is finally over. The point is that we can't totally escape stress since we deal with some form of it every day. We have to learn to deal with stress because if we don't we may end up suffering ill health from the effects of severe stress.
Severe stress can cause a variety of physical symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, fatigue, high blood pressure, loss of appetite, insomnia and restlessness. Long-term stress can cause conditions such as stomach ulcers and heart disease. It can also exacerbate conditions such as asthma. If other health conditions already exist stress the added stress can cause symptoms to worsen. Severe stress takes its toll on the immune system by causing it to become weakened. When the immune system is weak the body becomes susceptible to infections such as colds, flu and pneumonia.
In some ways stress can be likened to a domino effect. When it is so severe that it causes physical health conditions it also affects the mental and emotional state. When a person doesn't feel well physically he tends to become irritable. Such irritability may affect one's life in aspects of relationship, family, work and other areas. People may attempt to relieve feelings of stress by overeating, alcohol consumption or smoking, all of which can adversely affect one's health.
Severe stress can be associated with anxiety and may lead to panic attacks. People suffering severe stress may become withdrawn, less social and experience moments of extreme anxiety bordering on panic. They may start to avoid situations that they perceive to be stressful. People who suffer from such high levels of stress may experience physical symptoms such as chest pain and/or difficulty breathing.
It is important to learn to manage stress effectively in order to prevent unnecessary health problems. Don't take on more than you can handle. When people are overworked and pressed for time they are stressed. Avoid taking on new projects when you already have a full schedule. Be realistic about what you can do. People who are perfectionists and/or workaholics often have a high level of stress in their lives because they try to do too much and do it all perfectly. It also helps to relieve stress by eating properly, getting plenty of sleep and learning to relax. Everyone needs to have some time to just sit back and relax. A positive attitude can help eliminate stress. People often worry about what may happen. If we stop trying to live in the future and just be in the present moment we can remove that unnecessary stress from our lives. If you must worry about future events then try to imagine a positive outcome. Life may have its stressful moments but we don't have to be victims of stress.