Stress is a reaction to any demand on your body where chemicals are released. The released chemicals can give out more energy and strength, which is a positive thing when the stress is being caused by some sort of physical danger, but it can also be negative if the stress is emotional and there is no suitable way of releasing the extra energy and strength.
When feelings of stress are released it is important to assess what is causing the emotions in order to deal with it in the best way.
Causes of Stress
There are several different causes of stress, including the feeling of flight or fight which is a common response to danger.
Another is internal stress, when you worry about something that you have no control over, or indeed worry about nothing in particular. This is one of the more severe forms of stress as it can escalate out of control very easily.
Stress can be addictive and searched out to increase levels. Environmental stress can be caused by noises, crowding and work or family pressures; these are often much easier to control and avoid than other causes of stress. Stress caused by fatigue or overwork is built up a long time and can be the most harmful to your body.
Signs and symptoms of Stress
Stress can be both short and long term and have a wide variety of symptoms.
Short term symptoms include a faster heartbeat and breathing rate, increase in sweating, cold hands, feet or skin, the feeling of butterflies, feeling tense, dry mouth, frequent bathroom visits, muscle spasms, headaches, fatigue or shortness of breath.
Longer term stress can have a greater effect on your body and signs include changes to appetites or sleeping habits, nervous behaviors, increasing occurrences of other illnesses, headaches, stomach problems, skin problems and general aches and pains, your sex life may be affected, and you may feel constantly worn out.
Effects of Stress
The effects from stress are wide and far reaching and can include interfering with your judgment, and causing bad decisions to be made, difficult situations become more threatening, reduction in enjoyment levels, difficulty concentrating or ability to deal with distractions, feelings of anxiousness, frustration, rejection, inability to laugh, unable to work and unwilling to talk through problems.
Anxiety or panic attacks, feelings of being out of control, and overwhelmed, dependence on food, alcohol, cigarettes or drugs, neglecting parts of your life, and irrational fears are also effects of stress on emotional and physical wellbeing.
Stress can be debilitating and have an effect on all parts of your life.
Ways of dealing with stress can be as simple as laughing, which can have an excellent effect by replacing it with feelings of relaxation. Deep breathing and relaxation therapies can also have a positive effect on stress levels, as well as taking a step back and making changes to ensure stress levels are kept to a minimum. Taking part in exercise, having a hobby, stopping smoking and decreasing caffeine are also good along with healthy eating, regular sleep patterns, and avoiding overuse of drugs and alcohol.
Finding out what is causing the stress and recognizing that not everything can be controlled is an important step in controlling stress.
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