Pressing the pause button on Stress

As the cycle continues of waking up to new stresses and carrying them to bed, the pile of stresses seems to only accumulate with each passing day like an abandoned landfill. Susceptibility and exposure to stress seems to come from all corners of life including pressures from work, personal affairs, physical challenges, emotional demands, and financial strains.

So how does stress effect your body? When the human body encounters stress, it is natural for your heart rate to increase, alertness to intensify, and to experience a rise in cortisol and adrenaline levels. All these responses were designed to help the body respond to situations where heightened awareness and optimal response times are required. However, if the body is always encountering stressful environments and triggering stress responses the prolonged effects can cause significant damage to the body.

Some of the negative impacts of stress can include a weaker immune system, higher blood pressure, headaches, and an upset stomach. In addition to physical responses, stress may also affect mental and emotional states as well. High levels of stress can lead to more disruptions with sleep, as well as increased chances of depression and anxiety. When stress remains unaddressed, one’s ability to adapt to changes, meet requirements, and function healthy relationally are all hindered. Stress has the power to overwhelm and ultimately consume all aspects of life.

After identifying stress and the endless array of symptoms, it is imperative to adopt patterns to help manage and reduce its effects. When you have been living and coping with stress for extended periods of your life, sometimes vast lifestyle changes and adjustments are required to counter stagnant patterns and harmful habits. Often the first area to assess is the work-life balance aspect. Realistically, your work-life balance will never actually be perfect, however, adjustments and decisions can always be made to help improve. Job-related stresses will naturally exist, but deciding on what the right balance is will need much consideration. At what expense is a job with a higher salary, longer hours, greater challenges worthwhile when considering the impact on one’s health and general livelihood.

Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is essential in equipping the body to best handle stress. Consistent exercise can help boost endorphin levels in the body, improve mental health, and it also reduces time spent beaming in on the never-ending pile of stresses. One may also incorporate meditation, stretching, breathing techniques in addition to more traditional forms of exercise. Finding ways to relax and rest is necessary to subdue some of the cortisol and adrenaline spikes. As each gear in a clock works in unison to tell time, the body also requires attention to each part of life including diet, exercise, mental state, and rest.