The Real Dangers of Stress and What You Can Do About It
Stress is a normal part of life. Persistent stress is not. The truth is that stress can kill you, or at least too much of it can. The exposure to stress can wreak havoc in all aspects of your life if unchecked and unmanaged. Even though being overloaded is not a good feeling in general, but uncontrolled stress can also have ripple effects in your personal and professional lives, at work and home.
Consider these real dangers of stress:
The Immune System. Both chronic and acute stress can weaken your immune system, putting you more at risk for everyday illnesses. Individuals who manage their stress well have fewer bouts with the common cold, allergies, and seasonal flu.
Other health risks involved with stress. Exposure to stress, especially uncontrolled stress, takes a physiological toll on your body. Certain chemicals, such as dopamine, epinephrine, and other neurotransmitters are released during times of stress. You may experience higher blood pressure, increased heart rate, and other symptoms when you are stressed. High-stress levels have been linked to many health challenges and illnesses. You are at a greater risk for strokes, heart attacks, headaches and migraines, and other cardiovascular diseases if you do not have a system in place for dealing with and managing stress. Cancer has even been linked with uncontrolled stress in some research studies.
Your Mental and Physical State Without Stress
As you can see, the case can certainly be made for examining the stressors in your daily life and working towards eliminating some of the issues. Effective stress management plans will make you feel better overall, in both your physical and mental health. You will experience a greater amount of energy, experience less physical pain, and enjoy more quality of sleep because your mind will not be preoccupied with stress. In terms of your mental state, lower stress levels may lead to better concentration and focus, a calmer mood, and less irritability. Lower rates of depression, adjustment disorders, and other mental health issues are also experienced with lower stress levels.
Managing Your Stress - Putting Yourself First
You may be doing more harm to yourself than good if you say to yourself that dealing with stress is part of your job, that you just “deal” with it, or that you work well under pressure. Indeed, many employers, institutions, and organizations today are putting “wellness plans,” into place which are sometimes focused on stress management.
Creating an Individual Plan: There are all sorts of ways to get your stress under control. Perhaps the best way for you to work on getting your stress down is by coming up with a plan that is individually tailored to you and your schedule. Consider adding these stress-reducing practices to your plan:
Worship and Prayer- Prayer has always been associated with better mental health outcomes and divine healing. Whether you pray at home or corporately, adding this spiritual discipline to your plan is the best way to overcome stress. The simple act of worship takes your mind off your problems and shifts your focus to God and how much you love him. The result is a sense of peace and connectedness to the One who loves you and helps you to put stress in its proper place.
Meditation and mindfulness- Meditation and mindfulness have been shown to have a positive effect on a person’s stress level and the ability to manage stress. These practices involve setting aside at least five or ten minutes each day to spend in a quiet space, free of distractions. Paying attention to your body’s natural breathing patterns is an important part of these practices. Focus on your breath and alleviate your stress.
Exercise is also a way to de-stress. The release of endorphins to your brain acts as a buffer against stress and is almost like a natural antidepressant. Whether you go for a daily run or take a trip to the gym, physical activity is good for both your brain and body.
Establish a routine. Setting aside a specific portion of your day, even if you must schedule breaks in your workday, ensures that you are giving yourself the time you need to de-stress.
In conclusion, failing to get your stress under control will lead to negative repercussions in your physical, mental, and overall well-being. Start reducing your stress today with a routine of prayer, meditation, mindfulness, and exercise. Soon, you will be singing the praises of your practices as you see your stress melt away and you enjoy greater health.