Keeping your stress levels down can be a major contributor to keeping yourself healthy. When you feel stressed and worried, you probably feel it in more than just your mind.
From being more likely to suffer a personal injury while distracted to suffering from heart disease, stress can result in some unwanted consequences.
The cognitive effect of stress
Although stress isn’t always a bad thing – after all, it helps you deal with threats – when you experience too much of it, this can have huge effects. For example, studies have found that you’re more likely to experience an inability to focus when you’re particularly stressed. You could also find yourself forgetting more and suffering from poor judgment if you’re dealing with a lot of stress.
This could see you easily suffer a lapse in judgment and hurt yourself. Whether it’s a car accident or a slip or trip, you could find that if you’re in a slightly hazardous situation, you could be more likely to suffer the lapse in concentration that could result in a pretty serious injury.
You could also find yourself getting irritated easily, which can then lead to relationship problems. This can have the (super unhelpful) effect of causing you even more stress.
The physical effect of stress
When you’re stressed, you’ll know that it has a real effect on your physical health. You could find that you’re suffering from low energy levels and dealing with gastrointestinal problems. You could find that you’re suffering from hair loss and insomnia. And, among the most serious physical effects, you could find that you’re experiencing heart disease.
This could be the result of increased levels of certain hormones, like adrenaline. Or it could be down to the fact stress might cause your lifestyle to take a hit. You might end up smoking and drinking more than you did previously – classic avoidance behaviors. Your diet might deteriorate and you might exercise less.
If stress can become a genuine threat to your life, dealing with it effectively becomes vital. So what can you do to take it in stride and not let it affect your health?
Dealing with stress
Lean on your support network. If you have close friends and family, let them know that you need some support and that they could really help you through. You might be surprised at just how eager they are to be there for you. Connecting with someone and talking things through can help you put your situation into perspective and evaluate the best ways of dealing with it.
You might also want to consider a stress diary. Making a note of when you’ve felt particularly stressed and your resulting behaviors and symptoms can help you recognize what kind of triggers cause you to react badly.
One of the most effective ways of dealing with stress is exercise. If you can take out your frustrations on a treadmill or a punching bag, it’ll be a lot more beneficial for you than reaching for a six-pack.
And if things are getting too big to handle on your own, think about looking for professional help. It takes a lot of courage to do this, so it’s an act you can feel proud of accomplishing. When you take that step, it could be the start of a new relationship with stress, with you taking control of it.
This content is brought to you by Carrie Tennick.