Presented by BetterHelp.
If left untreated, chronic stress can have serious consequences for a person’s physical and mental health. Daily stresses at home and at the office, as well as more extreme events, can all play a role.
Chronic stress develops when the body is subjected to stressors on a regular basis in doses or intensities that prevent the autonomic nervous system from consistently activating the relaxation response. This means that physiological arousal is maintained at all times.
That has some sort of indirect or direct effect on every bodily system. Acute, or short-term, stress is something that humans can tolerate, but constant, or chronic, stress is not something that they were designed to deal with. Understanding what chronic stress is, what can be causing it, and how it impacts the body as a whole is crucial for beginning the process of managing it.
Recognizing Chronic Stress
Recognizing persistent stress can be challenging at times. As a result of its pervasiveness and longevity, many individuals come to accept it as the new standard. Here are some warning signals for chronic stress:
- Does your mood tend to swing wildly?
- Do you feel like there’s always something to be anxious about?
- Does it feel like you never have enough time to relax and enjoy life?
- Do even little setbacks have you feeling overwhelmed?
- Do you appear to be constantly sick?
- Are you using alcohol or other drugs to deal with your stress?
Our current way of life causes us to experience this kind of chronic stress response far too often. Perceived threats and chronic stress can be maintained by a variety of factors, including but not limited to high-pressure professions, loneliness, and heavy traffic.
The fight-or-flight reaction can exhaust us and lead to physical or mental illness, even though it was evolved to protect us from rare but serious threats to our survival.
It is estimated that 60% to 80% of all primary care visits are stress-related. That’s why it’s crucial to acquire stress-management strategies and implement positive lifestyle adjustments to protect yourself against the ill effects of chronic stress.
How To Cope
What works for one person may not be effective for another when it comes to the treatment of chronic stress. To help you deal with stress, consider these possible solutions:
Engage in Some Physical Activity
As a bonus, working out also has the added benefit of lowering stress levels and improving mental well-being. You can’t go wrong with walking, but if you want to really get your blood pounding, try jogging, dance, or swimming. Please with your physician before taking any action. Visit this page to learn more about the positive effects of exercise on reducing stress.
Practice Some Tai Chi or Some Other Form of Meditation and Yoga to Calm Down
Many people find that trying something new, like tai chi, yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises, is a rewarding experience despite the first discomfort. Among the elderly, for instance, tai chi has been shown to have a number of favorable effects, including a decrease in stress and an increase in happiness, as reported in The Journals of Gerontology.
Try to Make Sleeping a Top Priority
Sleep’s positive effects on stress management are similar to those seen in other areas of health and wellness. During the many stages of sleep, such as rapid-eye-movement sleep, your brain processes and sorts through the events and stresses of the day. By following the advice from the CDC, you may retrain your brain to sleep longer and better, improving your overall health.
Concentrate on the Things You Can Control
Feeling in charge of your life can provide you a solid foundation on which to stand. Things like weather are out of our hands. Still others, such as deciding what to have for dinner tonight, might serve as a rock of stability during times of uncertainty.
Be Kind With Yourself
It’s normal to lose your cool occasionally or struggle to let go of negative emotions as easily as other people. A little self-kindness goes a long way.
Do Not Isolate Yourself
Gather a group of individuals who are invested in your well-being and draw on them (in a protected, disengaged manner) when needed.