Someone once told me that you get stressed not from what you’re doing, but from what you don’t get done. I’m not going to tell you to just relax and take time off, because you probably won’t do that. I will, however, help you understand why it’s important for you to potentially make some changes that can help you learn to deal with and prevent stress.
Stress may start in your head, but your body will show you the signs of living with chronic stress. Do you ignore your body when it’s crying out for attention, downtime, and care?
There are different levels of stress and often, we don’t recognize the first signs of it. Our bodies are designed to withstand it; it’s one of our most refined survival tools. The problem is, we were only designed to be stressed for short periods of time, not the way we live today, where stress has become our lifestyle.
When the body goes into stress mode, our entire nervous system is affected, which includes our hormones. This means when your body experiences stress, it will stop doing what it normally does to keep a smooth machine (you) running. Instead it will put your system on standby and focus on dealing with the danger. That means your adrenals, cortisol, and other hormones start racing. These all affect your heart, circulation, metabolism, lungs, and immune system. Blood sugar rises to increase fuel for energy and your blood’s clotting ability increases to be ready for the potential danger of injury. Your blood pressure rises to push more blood to your muscles so you can run faster, and to the brain so you can think faster.
In the 1930s, a researcher outlined the GAS effect which is related to stress:
Stage 1: Adrenal Stress
This is where you start feeling the energy slumps, irritability, or feeling wired. You may also experience trouble sleeping and have some digestive discomfort.
Stage 2: Adaption
When you learn to adapt, your symptoms actually lessen. It’s another survival tool.
Stage 3: Adrenal Exhaustion
Most people first realize they are suffering from stress at this point. Your body no longer has the juice to keep going, so there’s no more fuel from which to take. You’re constantly tired and get colds and other viruses continuously.
Stage 4: Physical Burnout
In this phase, your immune system breaks down and you start suffering from chronic conditions, such as sudden onset of allergies, depression, hypoglycemia, acid reflux, colitis, chronic fatigue, autoimmune diseases and severe disorders such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, MS, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis. Even cancer is connected to stress and severe emotional trauma, the greatest stressor of them all.
Common Signs of Stress:
• You can’t sleep
• You have digestive problems, stomach aches, excessive acid, and reflux
• You have constant headaches and migraines
• You have tightness or pain in your lower back
• You have heart palpitations and high blood pressure
• You get sick all the time, including colds or the flu
• You have increased abdominal fat you cannot get rid of
• You feel anxious all the time even when you have down time
• You’re exhausted and fatigued
• You cannot relax without feeling guilty
BDST: 1151 HRS, SEP 11, 2012
Edited by: Tilka Binte Mehtab, Newsroom Editor