Money, work, family, education, and constantly being on the go are just a few common roots of stress. Any one of these stressors alone can result in health concerns, and more often than not, they do not come one at a time. Stress is a major part of modern living and all too often we ignore or cope with it in unhealthy ways, causing anything from depression to weight gain. If you need help coping with the stresses in your life, Advance Health and Wellness may be able to help you do just that.
Managing, preventing, and reacting to stress in healthy ways is not only beneficial to your daily life, but can also prevent long term health and wellness concerns.
Stress is linked to a wide range of issues that negatively affect both the body and mind, and also relationships and work. While our bodies are designed to benefit from stress, many of the responses we have in reaction to stressors are from a time when reacting to them was a matter of life and death. The “fight or flight” mentality is a perfect example of this.
In prehistoric times, stress was used to tell us of imminent danger. It kept us from being eaten by a predator, staying in dangerous weather conditions, and most importantly, from starving to death. Stress would act as a warning signal when food and water resources were low and needed to be found. These things were extremely important to our ancestors’ survival, and are why our brains activate our endocrine system when we are stressed. Since we no longer depend on “fight or flight” mechanisms in the same way, now this triggering of the endocrine system is inappropriate. It may cause us to eat at times when we do not need to, and often foods that are readily available, like fast foods, are bad for our health.
Managing stress can be difficult at first, and can seem overwhelming; After all, it is easier to eat that juicy, Hot Chicken sandwich for its comforting properties, than to take some deep breaths, drink a glass of water, and realize we are not actually hungry. However, the long term benefits of coping in appropriate ways to stress will outweigh the short term costs to your health. Some of the long term health problems associated with stress can include: heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, obesity, diabetes, headaches, depression, anxiety, weight gain, weight loss, gastrointestinal problems, accelerated ageing, and even Alzheimer’s disease. In severe cases, all of these can be fatal.
There are many options to managing stress on your own, such as getting a regular massage, practicing meditation, or doing yoga. Talk with friends and loved ones to find out how they have seen you manage stress, especially ways they feel may be damaging to your health. There are also prescription medications to help with stress related anxiety.
While these management techniques may help you cope with your stress levels to a degree, if your health or relationships are being affected in more immediate ways, and you are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, it is best to speak with professionals about both healing your stress induced conditions, and managing your stress long term to avoid any reoccurrence.