What is Stress?
Stress is a regular response of the body towards situations which affect a balanced life. These situations cause the body to release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones rouse the body to be prepared for action. Stress response serves to cushion the body, when working normally; it helps one to stay focused and alert. In emergency situations, the stress response helps you to save your life by providing the extra strength for fight or flight.
Constant exposure to risks of stress or being under constant stress can cause health complications. The high levels of stress hormones in the body lead to body imbalance hence tampering with mood, productivity, relationships and the general quality of life.
Signs and Symptoms of Stress
Many people suffer from stress but in many cases, it is mild and it goes unnoticed. When there is a stress overload, there is a body function imbalance and it gives a sense of general body sickness. Stress warning manifest as cognitive, emotional, and behavioral changes accompanied by various physical symptoms. The common signs of stress include;
Cognitive changes: These changes are as a result of brain fatigue and include memory problems, decreased concentration span, anxiousness and restlessness, and apathy.
Emotional changes: These include fluctuating moods, high irritability, sense of isolation, and general feeling of unhappiness.
Behavioral changes: These stress compensatory behavioral changes include change in eating and sleeping habits, use and abuse of drugs such as alcohol and cigarette smoking, and nervous habits such as nail biting.
Physical symptoms: These symptoms are a result of stress hormone overload. These symptoms include general body aches, diarrhea or constipation, chest pains and palpitations, nausea, and dizziness.
Causes and Risks of Stress
Situations that cause stress are called stressors. Stressors are anything or scenario that seems to add pressure and demand more from you. Stressors can range from negative situations such as tight traffic or exhausting work to positive scenarios such as marriage, work promotion or an interview. It is important to realize that what can stress someone may not bother someone and your perception towards a situation determines the amount of stress it can cause. Stressors can be grouped into internal and external stressors.
External stressors: These include major life changes such as getting married or death of a loved one, tight work schedule, relationship problems, financial problems, or family dramas.
Internal stressors: These include pessimism, negative self-talk and criticism, inability to accept reality, or perfectionism.
Stress can alter your lifestyle and health and it is important to learn how to manage and tolerate stressful situations. Skills that influence stress tolerance include your social support network, attitude towards the potential stressor, self-control, and knowledge and preparation for the situation. Poor management of stress can lead to health complications. Chronic stress is capable of disrupting the functioning of the bodies systems. The major health dangers of stress include;
Suppress immune system: Constant exposure to stress hormones compromise the functioning of the immune system. People who are under stress and depression are highly susceptible to infections and other illnesses.
Cardiovascular problems: Stress hormones such as adrenaline act by increasing heart rate and increased blood pressure. Over the long-term stress is associated with hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia, heart failure, and heart attack.
Musculoskeletal problems: Constant tension caused by stress lead to a general muscle fatigue accompanied by general muscle aches.
GIT problems: Stress is often associated with stomach upsets. The stressor hormones worsen GERD and due to the increased acidity, stress is capable of causing peptic ulcers.
Reproductive problems: Generally stress is linked to decreases sex libido with erection problems. Women under stress experience painful menstrual periods.
These are only a few of the most common health problems that prolonged and excess stress can cause. Stress is detrimental to our health in almost all aspects, releasing harmful free radicals throughout our body that wreaks havoc on our cellular health and thereby harming every system and function in our body.
Overcome the Health Dangers of Stress Naturally
By providing our brain with the nutrients and antioxidants it requires to stay healthy and function properly it allows our brains chemistry to balance itself. When our brain chemistry is balanced it has a significant effect on not only our mood but with our ability to cope with stress and work through it much easier. Balance your brain chemistry and improve cognitive health as a whole by supplementing with some natural ingredients that have a profound effect on brain health. Phosphatidylserine, R-Alpha Lipoic Acid, Vinpocetine and Acetyl Glutathione are all fantastic supplements that everyone should be taking everyday regardless of stress issues. Incorporating them into your daily health routine will yield immense benefits both cognitively, and with general cellular health, translating into total body health and improved immune function.
Another fantastic way to deal with stress naturally is through meditation. Meditation has had many studies done on those practice it, proving its benefit for stress related health conditions and with our overall ability to deal with and cope with daily stressors. Read more about how meditation can improve your health HERE.