Current research studies show that two thirds to 90% of all health illnesses are stress related. According to the American Psychological Association, fifty four percent of American adults are concerned about the level of stress in their everyday lives.
What Is Stress?
Stress is both psychological and physiological responses that upset the balance in our lives.
Stress can be physical, mental, or emotional tensions.
Anxiety, which is commonly found to accompany stress, is an uneasiness caused by danger or misfortune. These unhealthy disorders may be anything from feelings of uneasiness, to fears of extreme terror.
Over 40 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from stress and anxiety related disorders. Unfortunately, only about one third of all sufferers receive medical treatment, whether it be provided through a hospital, healthcare program, or from other stress eliminating programs.
Regardless of how or when these disorders may come about, whether it be experienced by an adolescent or by a senior, they all share the same basic characteristics and that is of fear and or worry.
Fear is a natural part of the human make up. It is a safety mechanism instilled within us to warn of impending danger.
It is also natural to be aware and concerned with the issues of daily life.
We fall victim to stress and anxiety when we find ourselves worrying excessively about events, whether they will come about or not.
Generally, the more anxious we feel, the more we will be affected by stress. This in turn, is activated by stress triggers. Stress triggers are made up from such things as various events, circumstances, situations, places and people, etc. The degree to which these triggers may affect us depend on some such factors as:
If you have experienced this before
- The length of the event
- How severely it may affect you
- Whether you have any control over the event
- If you have a support system in place or not
Effects On Health
Without a doubt, stress affects health in both our mental and in our physical state. The constant worrying of issues keep our nervous system on notice.
This in turn, begins to work against our healthy lifestyle and if left unattended, can ultimately lead to greater and more severe disorders as well.
The ongoing results from the lack of treatment can lead to severe damage to our physical bodies. This can be anything from a mild increase in blood pressure, to the hardening of arteries and possibly heart disease, along with other physical ailments.
Stress and it is accompanying anxiety disorders, will always go hand in hand with depression. These two, especially when coupled together, will generally increase the risk of both substance abuse, alcoholism and suicide. Stress also creates tension, anger and can affect our thinking patterns in such ways as:
- Poor concentration
Additional symptoms of stress can often include confusion, poor judgment, mood changes, racing or repetitive thoughts, irritation, an edginess, sense of being overwhelmed and lack of confidence.
Physical symptoms can include headaches
- Muscle tension and pain
- Chest pain
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- A gain or loss in weight
- Shortness in breath
- A withdrawal from people
Coping With Stress
To deal with stress effectively, the first and most important step is to pinpoint the exact cause of it. By having a better understanding of what causes the symptoms (stress triggers), we are in a much better position to manage our stress. Some of this can be done by knowing which situations we can and cannot control such as:
- Preparing for stressful events whenever possible
- Retaining a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition, exercise, and relaxation methods whenever possible
- Having a stress support system in place
Where to go for help
If you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, a good place to start is with your family doctor or health care professional. However, there is a great deal of information and programs readily available that may help you in diagnosing your own symptoms and causes. Some of these programs also have additional strategies in place to help guide you in overcoming your stress related issues (stress management).
Also available in non-stressful times, or perhaps in times of an emergency and even in the event that you may find yourself suffering from a panic attack that is much more stressful than you believe you can handle, is the option of visiting your local hospital to find help in controlling your attack.
It may be there that you can consult with a healthcare professional, who may suggest alternatives such as a fitness program, medicine, or perhaps other stress eliminating methods that you can implement to eliminate a stressed out attack.
ALL stress is treatable.
Some treatments available for controlling and eliminating stress may include, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), medication, natural and herbal treatments, or the more common self-help programs.
Some of the self-help techniques that you can work with right away to help alleviate and overcome stress and anxiety are:
- Getting plenty of sleep
- Exercise daily if possible
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Practice relaxation methods
- Avoid alcohol and drugs
- Eliminate or cut back on caffeine
As we have learned, all stress is caused from a basis of worry and fear. It can bring about serious harm and damage to both our emotional and physical being if it is not controlled.
We can help eliminate our stresses and it is affects by maintaining a healthy lifestyle with exercise, good nutrition and having a stress management program in place.
ALL stress is treatable.
With the correct and proper stress management program, stress and it is many symptoms can be controlled and even eliminated completely, allowing you to live the kind of healthy lifestyle that you desire and deserve.
The very FIRST STEP, but also the MOST IMPORTANT one towards succeeding in eliminating this unwanted nuisance from your life, is to identify exactly what causes it.