Is this you – stressed out and unable to cope? Beware, your happiness and health could be in danger. It’s time to learn ways to fight back.
It has long been known that stress is related to illness. According to The American Institute of Stress (AIS) 90 % of American adults experience high stress levels once or twice a week and 25 % feel stressed nearly everyday. AIS statistics also show that 75-90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related complaints. Complaints include headaches, backaches, anxiety, depression, alcoholism and obesity. The tension caused by constant stress undermines confidence and can cause relationship difficulties.
Stress, stress everywhere!
We’ve all heard about the caveman flight or fight response that saved our ancestors from being devoured by dinosaurs and wild mammoths. Well, we still have that same flight or fight response hard-wired into us, but we can’t really run away when the boss ‘attacks’ us nor can we give him a punch. We have to remain polite and smile. There’s no escape.
With no escape valve for these feelings, your nervous, hormonal and endocrine systems all become disturbed.
- Cortico-steroids get pumped out, raising your blood sugar to boost your energy levels. This provides fuel for quick energy needed for action.
- The released adrenaline and noradrenaline increases the heart rate and blood pressure. Red blood cells flood the bloodstream taking more oxygen and energy to your limb muscles, your lungs and the brain. this can be felt as a pounding of the heart or racing pulse. People prone to anxiety might misinterpret this as an impending heart attack.
- The body temperature rises which sends blood surging to your large muscles. Arteries expand to let the blood through.Blood clotting mechanisms are activated in anticipation of injury. These mechanisms ensure that clots seal up any injured blood vessels so you won’t bleed to death.
That is how the body reacts to physical danger, how it reacts when you’re stressed out. Basically it’s bad for you in the long run. The adrenalines increase fatty acids in the blood, contributing to arteriosclerosis which causes kidney damage. Both corticosteroids and the adrenalines badly affect certain kinds of immune functions. These include the cells that help produce antibodies. These cells that destroy infected cells and the cells which help identify infections and malignancies.
Stress can cause death
Many physicians believe that stress is a major factor in all the leading causes of death in the USA. Heart disease, hypertension, cancer, lung, gastrointestinal ailments, accidental injuries and suicide all point back to excessive stress. Many people use alcohol for self-medication for stress which can lead to cirrhosis of the liver.
Not everybody responds in the same way to stress. A roller coaster ride may be exhilarating for one person and terrifying for another! Coping mechanisms have much to do with one’s perceptions of a situation.
Your inbox is overloaded, your phone doesn’t stop ringing, your desk is a mess and your report is late. You’re sick of your work mates, sick of your boss and sick of your work.. The red warning flag is up! You may literally become sick yourself.
The most stressful jobs are those where there is a high degree of responsibility with very little control. In the least stressful jobs the worker has a high degree of responsibility but also has a high degree of control. So the executive who calls the shots has less stress than the middle management supervisor who has to clear every decision through the boss. People who have little power over their lives are 3 times more likely to have a heart attack than a person with a high degree of control.
Stress at home
Unfortunately many people can’t go home and relax after a long hard day at work. The stress at work can spill over into personal relationships. Stress can cause a person to withdraw from relationships when the rest of the family want interaction. Stress has an adverse effect on the desire for sex, although sex can be a great stress reliever.
Are you stressed out? Are your stress levels over the top?
Check out your risk factor for becoming physical illnesses from stress by completing this Stress Scale questionnaire. Please consider registering for my Free Overcoming Depression Course which is designed to teach you skills for dealing with stress and thereby put a halt on depression developing. You can register in the pop-up or in the newsletter signup in the sidebar.