The modern times are filled with rushed hours, buzzing technology and growing distances. It isn’t surprising, therefore, that stress levels are soaring and stress-related illnesses are on the increase even in school-age children. Stress is the body’s natural response to any situation that creates a “fight or flight” response. However, when this response becomes a prolonged and constant way of life, it can lead to many problems. This growing epidemic of stress needs to be managed and controlled and fortunately, it is easy to do so. Here is more information on stress, its causes, effects as well as ways of leading a stress-free life in a healthy and positive manner.
What is Stress?
Stress is any situation that places undue pressure on the body and mind and lead to many physiological and psychological changes in the body. While stress can be positive (also known as eustress) in many ways, long-term, repeated exposure to stress can be harmful (distress) and put a strain on the body’s ability to cope with it. Stress can be acute or chronic and can be caused by both internal and external causes. Stress can cause fatigue, irritability, muscle tightness and pain as well as lead to conditions like ulcers and anxiety.
- Understanding Stress: An introduction to stress, common symptoms as well as stress-related FAQs.
- Introduction to Stress: A detailed article on stress, types of stress and stressors as well as links to helpful resources.
- Everyday Stress: Comprehensive article on stress in everyday life, tips for controlling it and how to get help.
- Stress and Dealing with It: Simple, easy-to-understand article on stress, causes and effects.
- Learn About Stress: Detailed explanation on stress, effects, causes, symptoms and how to get help.
Effects of Stress
Long-term exposure to stressful situations can put a great strain on the body. It can cause problems with virtually all the systems of the body. Increased blood pressure, stomach problems, lowered immunity, increased anxiety, insomnia, ulcers, and even, infertility have all been linked to stress. In fact, the effects of stress can also be felt by a fetus and cause changes in its health and development. Aging, too, speeds up due to repeated exposure to stress.
- Effects of Stress: A diagrammatic representation of how stress can be harmful to the body.
- Stress in the Elderly: Common effects of stress in the elderly.
Causes of Stress
Stress can be caused by both internal and external factors, also known as stressors. Whether stress is long-term or short-term, the causes generally arise from lacking the ability to deal with a situation or condition. For instance, getting caught in a traffic jam when you’re already late for work. Some of the most common causes of stress include major life changes, emotional problems and social issues such as death of a family member or spouse, divorce or separation, loss of job, workplace bullying and retirement. Health conditions such as cancer, thyroid or diabetes can also lead to stress in many people.
- Stress and Its Causes: An article on the common causes and symptoms of stress and anxiety.
- Common Causes of Stress: A list of common causes of stress in the life of a college-student.
- Changes and Stress: Understanding how stress is caused by changes in life.
- Causes of Stress for Women: A list of common causes of stress in women.
- Causes of Stress for Teens: An easy-to-understand article on the causes of stress for teenagers and adolescents.
Dealing with Stress
Managing stress is important to ensuring good physical and mental health. Luckily, there are many simple and inexpensive ways of dealing with stress. Learning to set limits and say “No” is an easy way of managing stress. Other simple and effective ways of stress management include exercising regularly or even, going for a walk, playing with a pet, getting enough rest and relaxation, meditation, developing a hobby, spending time with “feel-good” friends and taking time out for oneself regularly.
- Managing Stress: Simple tips and ideas to handle stressful situations effectively.
- Dealing with Stress: Comprehensive article on dealing with stress using psychological, behavioral and cognitive coping strategies.
- Simple Stress Management: Four simple and effective ways of dealing with stress. Includes using positive self-talk, relaxation techniques and more.
- Stress Management for Children: Detailed information for parents and caregivers on how to help kids manage the stress in their young lives.
Unhealthy Ways of Stress Management
Long-term, repeated exposure to stress can cause many people to resort to unhealthy ways of dealing with the pressure and strain. Alcohol, drug abuse, smoking, binge eating or starving oneself, withdrawing from social interactions are some of the unhealthy ways of coping with stress. These oft-used coping strategies are, in fact, harmful and damage the body further. Therefore, it is important to understand that reaching for a beer or a cigarette each time one is in a stressful situation is not the right way of dealing with stress and pressure.
- Drinking and Stress: Comprehensive study exploring the relationship between consuming alcohol and stress management.
- Emotional Eating and Stress: Information on the link between emotional eating and stressful situations and how to eat right while coping with stress.
- Stress and Substance Abuse: Information from various research studies on how stressful situations can contribute to alcohol and drug abuse.
- Smoking and Stress: Understanding the relationship between smoking and stress, why smokers try to manage stress with smoking, and the problems with smoking as a coping mechanism.
Health Risks of Stress
Being in a stressful situation for a long period of time can be detrimental to one’s overall health and well-being. The initial effects of stress are generally mild and may include just a headache or fatigue. However, when left unmanaged, stress can lead to more serious conditions. Stress has been linked to heart disease, obesity, eating disorders such as bulimia and binging, alcohol abuse, ulcers and depression. Since the impact of stress on the body is so widespread, it is important to understand how stress may be a possible cause for various diseases and ailments.
- Heart Disease and Stress: Information on how exposure to stressful situations can lead to the development of heart disease.
- Stress and Obesity: A study on how everyday stressful situations are linked to development of obesity.
- Depression and Stress: Results of a study that links a family of protein to stress and depression.
- Impact of Stress on Health: Information on how stress affects the digestive, immune, nervous and cardiovascular systems.
- Stress, Moods, Behavior and the Body: Effects of stress on one’s health, mental well-being and behavior.
Stress can be positive when it challenges one to move forward, take action and achieve goals. However, when that challenge persists and turns into a pressure-driven situation, it can wreak havoc on one’s body and mind. Therefore, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress and take steps to manage and control them before it is too late.