Stress - it's part of life isn't it? Stress is good!
We subject ourselves to stress all the time, we need some stress, at work and in our daily lives. Without pressure and stress we would simply get nothing done, we wouldn't achieve anything! Stress is a positive force when it invigorates your life and enables you to realise your dreams. So, the more, the better then?
Well, think about it for a moment and be careful what you wish for. Just as we need oxygen in the air that we breathe to survive, pure oxygen will kill us. So it is with stress, we need some, but at what point does stress then becomes counter productive and a destructive force in our lives?
How do YOU perceive stress?
Do you need the Buzz of that last minute deadline?
Do you get a Rush from the responsibilities of a high-pressure situation?
Do you get a High by creating a situation that produces anger or fear?
Do you say to your workmates I thrive on stress?
Do you live in fear for your job?
Do you Worry constantly about your abilities at work?
Do you Fear competition at work?
Do you Change behind the wheel of your car?
Our physiological response to stress manifests itself in our bodies, by producing stimulants and other stress hormones, which act as mood altering devices, so we become much less conscious of pain, both physical and mental. We can set ourselves a dangerous precedent here, if we choose to ignore the signs that our bodies use to warn us that we are making ourselves vunerable to breakdown. Ignore this advice at your peril!
A common symptom of stress is a persons lack of respect for and enjoyment of, eating. The stimulants and other stress hormones which makes us tired, irritable and angry, totally disrupts our digestive function. We also tend to make poor choices about eating when we're stressed either through time constraints or a desire to eat comfort food. According to your disposition this will either cause a loss of appetite, depleting your body of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, leading to weight loss and poor health, or weight gain, through a diet of junk food eaten in a rush, leading to digestive disorders and other weight-related problems. Poor nutrition will further weaken your resistance to illness and allow other symptoms of stress to develop. It's a downward spiral.
Stress hormones are immensely powerful and have side effects that can quite literally kill you. Stress becomes a bad thing when it reaches a level beyond which you feel in control any longer, when you find yourself feeling tense, tired and uncomfortable.
It's not just the guy that seems most likely to drop dead from a stroke or a heart attack that's at risk here. Stress hormones can contribute to ulcers and other severe gastro-intestinal problems, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. These chemicals are also causal factors in a host of psychological problems such as depression and anxiety. It can also weaken the immune system, which makes you more susceptible to illness and affects the body's ability to heal.
Ask yourself - am I stressed or am I in denial?
How much stress is too much stress?
Well, we're all unique, and everyone experiences stress differently.
So how do we go about recognising the signs before it becomes a serious problem?
First, check the following lists and be honest with yourself. If you start to exhibit some of these symptoms, they may be warning signs that your stress levels are becoming a cause for concern. Your body and your emotions are attempting to give you a wake-up call. Listen to what your body is telling you.
- Upset stomach
- Stomach pains
- Loss of appetite
- Severe headaches
- Nervous Tick or Blinking
- Chronic fatigue
- Pain in the neck and shoulders and back
- Stiff neck and shoulders or back
- Teeth Grinding
- Poor focus and memory
How you feel can indicate signs of stress too, look for the following:
Identifying stress at the early stages makes it so much easier to treat. Good habits can be adopted to ensure that you have a good work/life balance and stress reduction becomes a manageable exercise.
Learn to recognise the signs that stress is starting to build up and be prepared to act quickly on the problems causing this, because problems seem to grow in intensity if they are not dealt with. The relief will be instant and you'll be glad that you did.
It's important to realise that you always have choices and learning how to properly manage stress will make you a happier person and really will improve your life.
If we are honest with ourselves, we can recognise the signs that stress is reaching an abnormal level, but of course it's different for everyone. The situation can become more serious when the sufferer is in denial of the obvious, when stress levels can then reach intolerable levels before the sufferer has a serious, sometimes catastrophic health crisis.
Stress can cause serious illness and even if it doesn't go on to do that; it can make you thoroughly miserable in the meantime. This article isn't supposed to scare, but to make you aware and to inspire you to take preventative action before it's too late.