Stress is an unavoidable part of life – but too much stress can take its toll on the body.
May 31, 2020
Daily stressors, like traffic, work, school and busy schedules, are impossible to fully avoid. But even the smallest stressors can add up quickly, so it’s important to keep them under control before they become hard to manage.
Stress isn’t always a bad thing – it comes from the same part of our brain that protects us from danger, according to Healthline. But when stress levels are too high for too long, they can begin to have serious effects on your health, strength and happiness.
As WebMD points out, many of us are so used to the feeling of stress that we don’t recognize the various symptoms and how they can make our mind and body feel. Yet 75 to 90 percent of doctor’s visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints, and 43 percent of adults suffer adverse physical and emotional effects from stress.
The physical symptoms of high stress can look different in every person, but here are some common concerns:
Most people are aware of the emotional changes they experience when stressed, but other symptoms may include:
In addition to these emotional and physical symptoms, stress can also change the way you think about things and cause you to develop unhealthy mental habits, such as negative thoughts, a racing mind and constant worry.
Chronic stress (stress that’s felt in high amounts for extended periods of time) can have significant impacts on your long-term health. Healthline reports that when people experience elevated levels of stress for longer than the body needs, every system in the body has the potential to be affected. Some potential long-term effects of chronic stress are:
While it may not be possible to completely avoid stress, there are many steps you can take to minimize its impact on your mental, physical and emotional health.
Caring for your body by getting at least 30 minutes of exercise every day is a simple way to make sure your mind and body stay strong enough to handle the stressful situations that may come your way. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout – even a brisk walk will do the trick.
The National Institute of Mental Health also recommends finding a relaxing activity to incorporate into your schedule, such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises and stretching.
There are many small steps you can take to manage your workload, stay organized and prioritize your well-being above all else. Set goals for yourself and break down your tasks into small pieces that you can easily achieve and check off your list as you go. Don’t take on more than you can handle, and choose to focus more on celebrating the things you have accomplished rather than dwelling on the things you haven’t done yet.
Lastly, be sure to connect with people who can help you and offer support. If you feel like you need a little extra help overcoming stress, don’t hesitate to reach out to a behavioral health professional at any of our Valleywise locations across the Valley. Visit ValleywiseHealth.org or call 1-833-VLLYWSE to schedule an appointment.