There’s no getting around it — life can be stressful. Whether you’re facing a long commute, an important interview or personal adversity, when stress kicks in, your body reacts. Your heart races, your breathing speeds up and your muscles get tense.
A little stress now and then is perfectly normal. In fact, your body is designed to experience and react to it. But if you’re experiencing stress without relief, your overall health could be at risk.
The physical toll of stress
More than 43 percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress, and a high percentage of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints. Stress can lead to physical, mental and emotional issues including headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis and more.
Here are three things increased stress does to your body.
- Too much stress can make you physically ill in a number of ways. It can cause headache, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, fatigue, changes in sex drive, upset stomach, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis and difficulty sleeping.
- Too much stress can affect your overall mood. It can cause you to experience anxiety, depression, restlessness, lack of focus, lack of motivation, irritability, anger, sadness and depression.
- Too much stress can lead to a change in regular behavior. You might experience angry outbursts, drug or alcohol abuse, tobacco use, social withdrawal, the desire to exercise less and the desire to overeat or undereat.
Ways to manage stress
You may not be able to remove the sources of stress in your life, but you can manage stress to keep it from affecting your health and wellbeing.
Some things that can help manage stress include:
- Regular exercise
- Participating in relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, massage or yoga
- Socializing with family and friends
- Making time for hobbies like reading or listening to music
- Getting plenty of sleep (7-8 hours every night)
- Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.
If you’re having trouble coping with the negative effects of stress, consult a healthcare provider with Goshen Physicians.