How to manage stress?
According to the World Health Organization, stress is the “health epidemic of the 21st century”. Every third person is said to have chronic stress symptoms. Never before in the history of mankind, stress has been such a huge part of our lives, as it is today. We feel it at work and in our private life. We already perceive stress as part of our daily lives.
According to the latest data, 70 to 80 percent of patients are visiting a doctor because of stress-related illnesses.
Chronic stress weakens the mind and body, and can lead to disease. We are somehow aware for all of this. But, are we doing enough to protect ourselves from this silent killer?
What exactly is stress?
Stress is caused by excessive body exposure to bad influences. These influences can be different. They can be roughly divided into physical (noise, cold, heat, stench, non-ergonomic working environment,…) and mental (tense relationships, mobbing, fears, trauma,…). We most often talk about stress of a psychic nature. Stress arises because people respond to external circumstances and situations by blocking the flow of energy throughout the body.
Stress is body’s natural response to situations that threaten us. When you perceive a danger, real or imagined, your body automatically responds and wants to prepare you to face that danger. This the called “stress response”.
The purpose of a stress response is to protect us from dangers. Under normal circumstances, it allows us to be focused, motivated and attentive, but when in danger, it allows us to respond quickly to a stimulus and defend ourselves.
Therefore, the stress response also helps us cope with daily tasks. For example, by staying focused on current tasks, we maintain the motivation to learn for the exam instead of watching television.
Anyway, after some time stress may no longer help us, but become a threat to our health, well-being, productivity, relationships with others and generally poor quality of life.
Problems arise when stress has been a big part of our life for quite some time. If it occurs infrequently, no symptoms occur at all. Ideally, stress should occur when we face a challenge, and disappear as soon as we meet the requirements and overcome the difficulties. Short periods of stress, whether good or bad, should be followed by relaxation. However, if stress and tension do not ease off, relaxation is impossible, thus symptoms of physical or mental illness may occur.
How is your body telling you that you are under too much stress?
- Sleep disorders and chronic fatigue
- Gaining weight around the abdomen
- Getting sick quickly
- Problems with digestion
- Headache, dizziness, back pain
- Anxiety, sadness, loss of sexual desire
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