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Stress… yes we are all familiar with the word. For some people more than others. However, stress isn’t always bad. In smaller amounts it can actually benefit you in both your workplace and personally as it can motivate you to perform under pressure, hence causing you to do your best. Unfortunately, when you are constantly running in crises mode, your mind and body starts paying the price.

If you often find yourself feeling tired or fatigued and swamped, it’s definitely time to change your habits and to bring your nervous system back into balance.

To protect yourself, you can learn how to recognise signs and symptoms of stress to reduce its harmful effects on your body and nervous system.

Nearly everyone experiences stress at some time. You know that feeling when you’re late for work and all of a sudden the highway is at a complete standstill? Yes, that feeling of an increased heart rate, sweaty palms and shortness of breath. Stress can produce changes in many bodily functions such as blood pressure and a change to immune function.

These stress responses could prove beneficial in a critical life-or-death situation. However, over time, recurring stressful situations put a strain on the body that may contribute to physical and physiological problems. Long-term stress can have real health repercussions and should be addressed like other health concerns.

So, how does people experience stress? Stress can be caused from both external and internal factors.

External factors: These stressors include unfavourable bodily stimulus i.e. pain or hot/cold temperatures or stressful mental surroundings i.e. poor working conditions or abusive relationships.

Internal factors: These can also be physical i.e. infections and other illnesses or inflammation.

Stressors can be explained as short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic). Common short-term stressors include:

  • Isolation
  • Hunger
  • Danger
  • Infection
  • Imagining a threat or remembering a dangerous event

Short-term stress is the reaction to an immediate threat – commonly known as the fight or flight response. Under most circumstances once the acute threat has passed, levels of stress hormones return to normal.

Common long-term stressors include:

  • Ongoing work pressure
  • Long-term relationship problems
  • Loneliness
  • Financial worries

Often, modern life exposes people to long-term stressful situations. Stress, then, becomes chronic. The urge to act (fight or flee) must be controlled.

Tune in next week to read about the body’s response to best envision the effect of acute stress.

Author’s note:
All information written in this blog was researched for this blog, and is not intended for self-diagnoses or to be used as medical advice. All medical questions should be directed to a healthcare professional such as a doctor or pharmacist.

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Until next week,