How to recognize stress and how to deal with it
Stress is one of the most common threats to our health. Several studies have shown that stress leads to heart related health problems more than we expect. Some people can shake off stress just like this, but most of us can’t. Our body’s response to stress is destructive and the effects can be felt and seen. The immediate response may be of internal nature. An example would be an increased level of our heart rate. An external sign of stress could be cold sweat and increased color in our faces.
Most people affected by stress do not know that the stress response of the body is meant to protect and support us. This process is often referred to as the “fight or flight response.” An increased heart rate is preparing the body to respond to a threat. Our ancestors responded to stressful events already in this fashion. Thousands of years later today, when we face a situation that is full of stress (challenge, threat), our body automatically goes into overdrive and protective mode, engaging the stress response process. Immediately, the body releases the same hormones that enabled already the cave people to move and think faster, hit even harder, invoke better vision, and hear better than they could only a few seconds earlier.
Most modern stress, however, does not call for a fight or flight response. Today’s experience of stress is generally related to how we respond to an actual stressful event, and not to the event itself.
It is not possible to live without any stress. Many daily tasks will confront us with stress. It probably starts with driving to work and facing traffic jam or road rage. Problems at work cause stress. A crowded supermarket with long lines waiting at the cash register can stress when all we really want is to get home.
What are the symptoms of stress?
Physical symptoms of stress can also be caused by other illnesses. So it is very important to consult doctor if symptoms do not disappear in a phase of relaxation. Common symptoms of stress are sleep problems, back, shoulder or neck pain, tension or migraine headaches, upset or acid stomach, constipation, diarrhea, hair loss, high blood pressure, and chest pain. You can probably tell right away that these symptoms could also come from other illnesses.
How to combat stress?
Learn to relax. Try some deep-breathing exercises during which you close your eyes, breathe deeply, and remove all other thoughts from your mind.
Exercise. Daily exercise not only helps to control your weight, it also works to reduce stress.
Eat right. By choosing the right food and by eating healthy you can easily reduce stress over time.