The world is in Chaos and we are trying to make a difference, make changes that are needed to do better, to be better in our daily lives. Society is not catching up fast enough to help us along the way, we all are in this together trying to make the best we can with what life is throwing at us right now. BREATHE!! If you do not, your stress will get the best of you.
Let us look at what stress is and can cause anyone. On any day, your kids will not stop screaming, your boss has been hounding you for many reasons, and you cannot make sense of what the world is going through. This goes on and on for days, no sleep, not eating healthy, and we all just try to keep our heads above water, sound familiar.
Stress is a normal part of life. At times, it serves a useful purpose. Stress can motivate you to get that promotion at work or run the last mile of a marathon. But if you do not get a handle on your stress and it becomes long-term, it can seriously interfere with your job, family life, and health. More than half of Americans say they fight with friends and loved ones because of stress, and more than 70% say they experience physical and emotional symptoms from it.
Let us look at the WHY we get stressed out, and how is this affecting our health. Everyone has different stress triggers. Work stress tops the list, according to surveys. Forty percent of U.S. workers admit to experiencing office stress, and one-quarter say work is the biggest source of stress in their lives.
- Being unhappy in your job
- Having too much responsibility
- Working long hours
- Working under dangerous conditions
- Being under pressure
- Traumatic Events
- Facing discrimination or harassment at work, especially if there is no support
- The death of a loved one
- Loss of a job
- Increase in financial obligations
- Getting married
- Moving to a new home
- Chronic illness or injury
- Emotional problems (depression, anxiety, anger, grief, guilt, low self-esteem)
- Taking care of an elderly or sick family member
- Traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, or violence against you or a loved one
Sometimes the stress comes from inside, rather than outside. You can stress yourself out just by worrying too much. All these factors lead to stress:
- Fear and uncertainty. When you regularly hear about the threat of terrorist attacks, global warming, and toxic chemicals on the news, or any national upset, it can cause you to feel stressed, especially because you feel like you have no control over those events. Fears can hit close to home, such as being worried that you will not finish a project at work or will not have enough money to pay your bills this month.
- Attitudes and perceptions. How you view the world, or a situation can determine whether it causes stress. For example, if your home gets broke into, or your car is stolen and you take the attitude, “It’s OK, my insurance company will pay for the loss,” you’ll be far less stressed than you think, “My car is gone and I’ll never get it back! What if the thieves come back to my house to steal again?” Similarly, people who feel like they are doing a good job at work will be less stressed out by a big upcoming project than those who worry that they are incompetent. Either way, we make that decision on how we absorb the stress or fear.
- Unrealistic expectations. No one is perfect. If you expect to do everything right all the time, you are destined to feel stressed when things do not go as expected.
- Change. Any major life change can be stressful — even a happy event like a wedding or a job promotion. More unpleasant events, such as a divorce, major financial setback, or death in the family can be significant sources of stress.
Your stress level will differ based on your personality and how you respond to situations. Some people let everything roll off their back. To them, work stresses and life stresses are just minor bumps in the road. Others literally worry themselves sick.
Effects of Stress on Your Health
When you are in a stressful situation, your body launches a physical response. Your nervous system springs into action, releasing hormones that prepare you to either fight or take off. It’s called the “fight or flight” response, and it’s why, when you’re in a stressful situation, you may notice that your heartbeat speeds up, your breathing gets faster, your muscles tense, and you start to sweat. This kind of stress is short-term and temporary (acute stress), and your body usually recovers quickly from it.
But if your stress system stays activated over a long period of time (chronic stress), it can lead to or aggravate more serious health problems. The constant rush of stress hormones can put a lot of wear and tear on your body, causing it to age more quickly and making it more prone to illness.
If you have been stressed out for a short period of time, you may start to notice some of these physical signs:
Managing your stress can make a real difference to your health. Taking the steps to improve your health is one important step.