How Stress Impacts Your Health

Stress is unavoidable. No matter what we do we will have to deal with some form of stress on a daily basis. And dealing with stress actually causes chemical changes in our brains which can of course affect our health. But there’s much more to the story than that.

Some types of stress are fleeting, and very short-lived. This can be the frustration of simple things like getting in line at the grocery store only to find that you have chosen the slowest line.

This sort of annoyance happens to all of us. The issue is how you handle it. Most people will simply decide to look at the magazine rack, which is conveniently located near the register, or just daydream for a few minutes.

But some people will let the tension build. With each passing moment their stress is building as their only focus is the time they are wasting standing in line.

It’s easy to see that the first two people described could take something good away from the wait. The first may read something interesting on the cover of a magazine and the second may escape from the chaos of the day with her daydream. But the person that is literally stressing out over the wait is doing more harm to himself than he realizes.

Stress can affect us on many levels. This person is not likely to have a smile on his face as he walks out of the store. It is probably going to take awhile for him to get in a better mood.

And it is very likely that this is behavior that is routine for this person – in other words, this person does not have very good coping skills.

Over time this person is likely to experience any or all of the following problems:
• Difficulty sleeping
• High blood pressure
• Lack of energy
• Headaches
• Feelings of depression
• Tension & anxiety that won’t let up
• Back or neck pain
• Change in weight
• And more

As you can see, stress can build and lead to some bad stuff. But we need to acknowledge also that some people simply have a lot of stress in their lives.

After all, most of us can name someone that has lost more than their share of relatives or that has suffered through more than their share of hard times. It is also important to note that some things that are perceived as good, such as having a baby or buying a home and moving, are also very stressful.

The problems listed above can of course lead to many health problems, including heart disease, emotional disorders, ulcers, lowered immunity system responses, and many others.

Although we can’t prevent stress, we can learn to deal with it. We can work on using appropriate coping mechanisms when we are feeling stressed, but even more than that we can be more proactive.

To stay healthy we can eat right, drink lots of water, get plenty of rest, and exercise. Taking care of ourselves is a great start to being better able to handle any situation. Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to enjoy life – relax and do the things you enjoy.

Every day you should budget at least 20 minutes that are just for you, that is your time to do what you want. Try not to let the little things get you down.

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