Chronic Stress: Symptoms and Effects
Just glance at the covers of New York Times or Washington Post, or turn on CNN... you will see what you already know: Stress is a fact of life!
Even the World Health Organization states that stress is a "global epidemic."
High pressure jobs, loneliness, traffic jams – anything that annoys or frustrates you has the potential to keep your body in a constant state of alert.
Every day we are confronted with daily hassles that are perceived as the stress of modern-day living.
But you don’t have to be passive to stress!
You can choose to take control of stress.
Recognize your warning signs of stress and put into place effective stress management tips to reduce the effects of stress on your mind and body.
What is chronic stress?
Chronic stress occurs when your body is in a state of constant arousal in which your stress response is activated.
This stress response has served us well in the past.
The caveman who narrowly escaped the jaws of a saber-tooth tiger, thanks to the boost of stress hormones such as adrenaline or cortisol, lived for another day.
But chronic stress is different from acute stress.
Some common causes of this type of stress include:
While there are number positive effects of stress the BIG PROBLEM for many people today is that it is difficult to turn the stress response off.
Every day you are faced with the daily hassles of traffic jams, unrelenting pressure and workloads, financial concerns, a noisy roommate, or worry about the environment.
You may not be constantly consumed by the fight or flight response but your body could be similar to a car that is idling along at a revs per minute that is too high!
The engine is working too hard to stay in balance!
While you may think you are adapting to higher and higher stress levels you may just be living with an unhealthy amount of stress.
This produces wear and tear and an increased incidence of stress-related illnesses.
The Danger of Chronic Stress This is what makes this type of stress so dangerous. Dealing with chronic stress symptoms involves:
The Danger of Chronic StressThis type of stress is deceptive and pervasive!
This is what makes this type of stress so dangerous.
Dealing with chronic stress symptoms involves:
The effects of chronic stress on health
Consider this anecdotal story by a stress management expert on the physical effects of stress.
One day a stress management lecturer was explaining the concept of unrelenting stress to his students.
He started by raising a cup of coffee that he was holding.
"How heavy is this cup of coffee?" he said.
The students called out 7oz to 15oz.
The lecturer replied, "The weight of the cup does not matter so much, what matters is the length of time I hold it for."
"If I hold this cup of coffee for 60 seconds there is not a problem."
"If I hold the cup for 20 minutes I will have a sore wrist."
"If I hold it for one hour my muscles will spasm and hurt."
"If I hold the cup for a day I will end up in hospital."
"The weight of the cup of coffee has not changed," he explained to the class.
"What has changed," he said, "is the length of time that I carry the burden."
Chronic stress is a bit like this.
What you can do to reduce stress in your life
This type of stress is pervasive and deceptive.
So a first step to take is to know what your symptoms of stress are.
A contemporary definition of stress is dependent on the way that you perceive a situation as stressful or not.
One person may view speaking in front of an audience as stressful while another may see this as an opportunity to share their knowledge.
So stress is very much influenced by thoughts and emotions.
Search here for more ways to deal with stress
Related stress management articles
Self Hypnosis: Deal with Stress through Self Hypnosis
General Adapatation Syndrome: GAS Explains the Effect of Stress on Health
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