Truth: stress can kill you, or at least too much of it can. If unmanaged, the exposure to stress can trickle into all aspects of your life.
Stress may be having a greater impact on your life than you think. This post was written to connect you to the truth and help stress less.
How do you know if you are stressed? Here’s a list of some of potential signs of stress. How many signs of stress are you showing? Is it more than you realized?
Did you know more than 70% of the people who go to the doctor that don’t feel well are typically going because the symptons they feel are induced by their uncontrolled/unmanaged stress? Yes! It’s true!
Potential Signs of Stress
Neck ache, backache, muscle spasms
Frequent colds, sinus infection
Heartburn, stomach pain, nausea
Excess anxiety, guilt, worry, nervousness
Depression, mood swings
Increased or decreased appetite
Feeling overloaded or overwhelmed
Feelings of loneliness
Weight gain or loss
Increased smoking, alcohol or drug use (Source: American Stress Institute: www.Stress.org)
Consider these real dangers of stress:
1. Stress Weakens Your 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 experiences with the common cold, allergies, and seasonal flu than those who don’t manage their stress well.
2. Uncontrolled/Unmanaged Stress If Often the Root Cause For Other Health Risks, Too
Exposure to stress, especially uncontrolled stress, takes a toll physiologically 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’re stressed.
High stress levels have been linked with many health challenges and illnesses. You are at a greater risk for strokes, heart attacks, headaches and migraines, and other cardiovascular diseases if you don’t have a system in place for dealing with and managing stress.
Potential Causes of Stress
There are so many potential causes of stress. Some people can deal with many things before they see signs of stress, other people may have one thing causing them to see the impacts of stress. Stress can be caused by a combination of many small things, or one big thing. Even some good things like marriage or pregnancy can cause stress.
Below are some of the potential causes of stress.
Have any of these things happened to you lately?
- Death of a loved one
- Injury/ Illness/Disability
- Job change/Workplace stress
- Unexpected Financial Issues
- Abuse (Physical or Verbal)
- Time management pressures
- Social Affairs
- Family/Relationship Troubles
- Legal Problems
- Environmental Changes
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’ll experienced a greater amount of energy, experience less physical pain, and enjoy more quality of sleep because your mind won’t 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.
Start Managing Your Stress
Ultimately, a great place to start is by making a decision to put yourself first.
Are you like many busy professionals I meet who feels stress is part of your job or responsibilities so you just “deal” with it?
Do you think you work well under pressure?
A lot of that stress falls under the “unnecessary” category and can be avoided! And by choosing to just deal with it you may be doing more harm to yourself than good.
Tools to Relieve Stress
We can do something about some of these areas of our life – not all, but let’s tackle what we can control. Having control over some of these areas can help you feel like you are back in the driver’s seat of your life. You could use one of these tools and see how it helps, or you could try several things all at once. It is up to you.
Create a Stress Management Plan
Disclaimer: this requires you to stop feeling guilty when it comes to YOUR Self Care
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 implementing a self-care plan that is created just for you; tailored to fit your schedule & your lifestyle.
Strive to live a healthier lifestyle. If you’re not healthy, you cannot help yourself, and then you cannot serve others. Our physical and mental health are imperative to keep our stress levels down.
Setting aside a specific portion of your day, even if you have to schedule breaks in your work day, ensures that you’re giving yourself the time you need to de-stress.
Consider adding these two stress-reducing strategies to your self-care plan:
Meditation and mindfulness.
Don’t underestimate adding meditation and mindfulness to your day. Meditation and mindfulness have been shown to have a positive effect on a person’s stress level and their 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 breathing and alleviate your stress.
Exercise, eat healthier, and get quality sleep (Triple 3)
Professionals should be a lot more intentional when taking care of themselves by eating right, exercising, and quality rest.
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, the physical activity is good for both your brain and body.
Failing to get your stress under control will lead to negative repercussions in your physical, mental, financial, and overall well-being.
Start reducing your stress today with a regular routine. Soon, you’ll be feeling your stress melt away; you’ll be stressing living more!