It is fairly common in our society today to talk about being stressed. This happens without a full understanding of what the word stress means. Stress to put is simple is how your brain and body respond to a demand or stressor. The demand may come from work, school, exercise, life changes, traumatic events. We all experience stress in our lives daily although some people deal or cope with it better than others. On the other hand, stress can act as a motivator that pushes people to prepare and perform. Stress causes the body to protect its self by release hormones that cause reactions in the brain and body that will help you deal with the stressor.
Long-term stress, on the other hand, can be dangerous to the body in many ways. Stress can lead to digestive, immune, sleep and reproductive system problems. Due to the reduced immune protection, people under stress may experience frequent infections such as flu or cold. Chronic stress has been linked to hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, obesity depression, anxiety, skin problems, menstrual problems. There are a few emotional and physical signs of stress. These include Diarrhea, forgetfulness, aches and pains, headaches, lack of energy, stiffness, tiredness, sleep problems, weight loss, upset stomach, etc. (NIH, 2019). Although stress ins inevitable it is imperative that we learn ways to reduce and mitigate it in other to prevent the above-listed side effects.
Tips to reduce/ manage stress includes:
- Know the signs of stress such as sleeping, eating problems, increases substance use, depression, anxiety, irritability, etc.
- Try relaxation activities such as meditation, listening to music and yoga
- Regular exercise may help you to be calm and reduce stress
- Your healthcare practitioner can help you identify ways to properly manage your stress and its effects.
MedlinePlus. (2019). Stress and your health. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003211.htm
National Institute of Mental Health (NIH). (2019). 5 Things You Should Know About Stress. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml