Stress can cause adverse effects to health.
Stress is simply our body’s reaction to change in our situation or environment. Everyone experiences stress, but how we respond to the stressors is important.
April marks Stress Awareness Month. This a good time to allow us to prioritize monitoring and addressing our stress as too much stress can have negative effects on our health.
This is the most common type of stress. These episodes are usually short lived and often the result of an experience like a fight with a friend or family member or even just missing a car crash. You can suffer from acute stress when you are anxiously anticipating an event like a presentation at work.
Most of the acute stress episodes are a result of us thinking about a situation or a reaction. This stress isn’t always negative as it can be a motivator. As the anticipated event passes or we calm down after the altercation, the thoughts subside and so does the stress.
Our bodies respond to these short-term stress episodes with raised heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing and sometimes muscles may even tense. As we better understand situations and calm our thoughts, our bodies can also calm the physical response. The body is made to handle acute stress and should return to normal levels.
Episodic Acute Stress
People that take on too much can suffer from Episodic Acute Stress. These individuals suffer from acute stress too frequently often as a combined result of self-imposed pressure and external demands. Their bodies do not have the ample time to return to normal levels. The increased amount of stress can result in headaches and insomnia.
This level of stress is the most serious and can lead to grave health problems. When stress becomes the “new normal” then our bodies respond negatively. If left untreated, Chronic Stress can lead to serious mental and physical health issues possibly including a heart attack, stroke, or even cancer.
How to address stress
Creating a healthy routine is the best way to combat stress.
- Sleep: Try to follow a regular sleep schedule throughout the week.
- Eat right: Don’t just make time for meals but ensure those meals include well balanced choices.
- Exercise: You’ve heard this over and over, but exercise is key. Raising your heart rate is a stress reliever so try to workout 3-5 times a week or at least go for daily walks.
- Laugh: This is so beneficial for your mental health and allows time to escape from the stressors of life.
- Relax: Whether journaling, breathing exercises, or something else, find a way to relax.
- Visit your doctor: Don’t skip out on routine checkups. This helps you and your doctor to understand your stress levels and any health risks you may have. The two of you can form a plan to address any concerns before health conditions arise.
HealthStar Physicians Premier Medical is here to partner with you as you work to monitor and improve your health. We want to help you ensure that stress doesn’t get in the way of your quality of life.
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