Stress, both good and bad, can affect so many aspects of our lives. From work to personal relationships, even the smallest things can cause tension and interfere with our sense of peace and calm.
While short-term stress is often an unavoidable part of life and can even help to increase productivity, long-term stress can have a serious impact on the body and mind.
Chronic stress, on the other hand, can put people at risk for serious diseases including high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Chronic stress may also increase the risk for depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.
Stress and the Mind
When a person is under stress, they could become more easily angered or irritable. They might also be prone to anxiety and insomnia.
The brain’s immediate response to a perceived stressful situation is similar to that of the response to a dangerous situation. Both trigger a rush of adrenaline and cortisol, which is why people often feel a quickened heart rate, amplified senses, and extra energy during times of stress.
After a short period of stress, the body often quickly returns to its normal, balanced state. However, constant or elongated periods of stress can result in a buildup of cortisol, which can increase the risk for anxiety, depression, digestive problems, headaches, sleep problems, and others.
A cortisol buildup could slowly interfere with the brain’s ability to function optimally and could potentially affect a person’s memory over time. Someone who is under stress constantly might become increasingly forgetful, which could affect their relationships and ability to perform their daily tasks.
Stress and the Body
Chronic stress can affect the mind and the body. From mild symptoms such as stomachaches and headaches to more serious conditions like heart disease, stress can contribute to a multitude of problems.
Stress can raise blood pressure over time by contributing to the constriction of blood vessels, which can also lead to more serious issues such as heart disease or stroke.
Stress can also affect the body’s immune function, which could make a person more susceptible to contagious illnesses, such as the flu. It may also take longer to recover from something as simple as a cold due to chronic stress.
Finding relief from stress may help keep a person healthy. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, learning to relax, participating in deep breathing exercises, quitting smoking and cutting down on alcohol could make a huge difference for many people.
Finally, if you’re experiencing recurring or prolonged periods of stress with no apparent cause, it’s important to talk to your doctor, or a psychiatrist in Boulder. There are many resources for dealing with chronic stress, but you have to take the first step and seek them out.
This article cannot be re-published without permission.