We all feel it.
Some more than others.
We live in a world where there are more stressors now than there were 15-20 years ago.
We have mobile phones which keep us forever connected – never far from the beck and call of an employer, a friend or a loved one. Being constantly accessible can be draining. Not being able to switch off can be a stressful experience.
Stress impacts us all differently.
Some can withstand the constant barrage of stressors, others cannot.
Why is that? And is all stress bad?
Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances (demanding doesn’t have to be a bad thing, does it?).
There is such a thing as good stress, or “eustress” which refers to beneficial stress – which can be psychological or physical (e.g. exercise). Eustress is in fact healthy, and can often give you feelings of fulfilment, accomplishment and motivation.
The “bad” stress that we all know so well is chronic stress, or stress that goes on for prolonged periods. The stress response is controlled by our sympathetic “flight tor flight” nervous system and results in the release of stress hormones such as cortisol. When cortisol levels remain elevated for extended periods, the body can suffer.
Symptoms of chronic stress may include:
Aches, pains, tense muscles
Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
Frequent illness (cold and flu)
Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
So, what you do you do to manage your stress? Options to consider:
Daily mindfulness meditation practice
Regular exercise: going for a run, practicing yoga or lifting weights are all great ways to reduce stress!
Time to disconnect – from mobile devices and social media. Limit usage during evenings and weekends.
Check your diet – are you getting a balanced breakfast with healthy fats? Consider your water vs alcohol intake.
See you Doctor – you may benefit from blood tests to make sure there is nothing else going on. The symptoms listed above may be due to other factors.
Talk to someone – a friend, family member or a health professional.