We all face different challenges and obstacles, and sometimes the pressure is hard to handle. When we feel overwhelmed, under the gun, or unsure how to meet the demands placed on us, we experience stress. In small doses, stress can be a good thing. It can give you the push you need, motivating you to do your best and to stay focused and alert.
Stress is what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work or drives you to study for your midterm when you’d rather be watching TV. But when the going gets too tough and life’s demands exceed your ability to cope, stress becomes a threat to both your physical and emotional well-being.
Identifying unrelieved stress and being aware of its effect on our lives is not sufficient for reducing its harmful effects. Just as there are many sources of stress, there are many possibilities for stress management. However, all require work toward change: changing the source of stress and/or changing your reaction to it. How do you go forward?
Use Stress Management to Regain Lifestyle Balance
Stress causes our immune system to become weakened, which allows minor illnesses that would not normally have an effect on us to really bring us down. A simple cold can escalate into the flu or a lung infection. In addition, stress can cause sleep problems and fatigue which can go on to produce mood swings and irritability.
Aches and pains, and especially headaches become more frequent, because stress causes the involuntary contraction of the neck and shoulder muscles. Most of the time we don’t even realise we are tensing our muscles until they begin to ache.
Stress also has a big effect on how our internal organs work. For example, the heart beats faster and the blood pressure increases during a stressful period. Long-term, this can result in strokes and some types of heart disease. The stomach is another organ that suffers due to stress; ulcers and acid indigestion can not only cause chronic pain but can lead to serious internal bleeding.
There are many emotional and psychological problems that result from stress, in addition to the physical ones. Anger is one such problem especially, if the individual feels frustrated or isolated by a stressful situation.
Minor problems such as unhappiness and impatience for things to get back to normal can quickly grow into more serious problems, such as clinical depression and anxiety disorders. These emotional problems can affect the people around the stressed person just as much as they affect the person themselves.
Loved ones can get pushed away, and the stressed individual may withdraw from society and their life in general. Eventually friendships break down, and the individual becomes more stressed and withdrawn because of their lack of social interaction; it’s a never-ending cycle.
Fortunately, society is waking up to the effects that stress can have on the population. Years ago employers used to think you were weak and a bad employee if you had time of work because you were suffering from stress, however today, many companies run stress management courses for their workers so that they can effectively deal with the stresses of their work life.