Chronic Stress and Stress Response

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Stress won’t go away? Maybe you’re suffering from chronic stress. Chronic stress is a crippling psychological and physical disease that is constant and persists over an extended period of time. Factors relating to chronic stress are internal and external and occur in everyday routines and situations. Some external factors encompass an individual’s physical environment, such as a job, a relationship with others, a person’s home life, and all the scenarios, challenges, troubles, and expectations that an individual can be faced with every day. Examples of internal factors that decide on an individual’s ability to respond to, and handle stress include nutritional status, emotional well-being, overall health and fitness levels, and the amount of sleep and rest acquired. Sometimes stress can be a good thing though. It can provide the necessary boost that drives the determination to get through situations like exams or work deadlines. Because there is typically so much stress in an individual’s daily life, some people consider stress as a negative experience however, from biological standpoint stress can be a neutral, negative, or positive experience. Too much stress can have serious health consequences and have a contrary effect on the immune, cardiovascular, neuroendocrine, and central nervous systems. Chronic stress left untreated can result in serious health conditions such as muscular pain, insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. Research shows that major illnesses, such as heart disease, depression, and obesity are a direct result of chronic stress. Nervousness, anxiety, poor eating habits, loss of enthusiasm or energy, and mood changes, like irritability and depression are examples of emotional and behavioral symptoms that are caused by excessive stress. Engagement in unhealthy behaviors such as abuse of alcohol and drugs, cigarette smoking, and making poor exercise and nutritional choices are products of chronic stress. These unhealthy behaviors often lead to a ‘vicious cycle of symptoms and other unhealthy behaviors. Stress that is not managed properly produces different symptoms in different people. There is not an individual in the world that can avoid the stresses that occur daily.

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Therefore, it’s important to know how to properly deal with stress as it comes along. Appropriate control of stressors and management of our physical (physiological) and mental (psychological) responses are keys to dealing with stress. When we think about what causes stress, healthy management strategies become more apparent. One very important step in stress management is exercise. Exercise regularly helps to reduce the production of stress hormones and associated neurochemicals. Elimination of drug use and moderate alcohol consumption is important when trying to manage stress successfully. It’s also very important to deal with stress and stressful issues rather than mask these problems with abusing drugs and alcohol. Poor management of stress makes it difficult for individuals to effectively cope with or eliminate stress in their lives. Stress management ideas include meditation or other relaxation techniques, frequent breaks, and learning new coping strategies. Some examples include: taking a lunch break and the job or job stresses. Taking a walk to clear the mind instead of taking a coffee break is a very effective way to regroup and focus on self. Scheduling free time on weekends to purposely relax is another example. Regular vacations, long weekends, or mental-health days at intervals are very beneficial for individuals who suffer from chronic stress. It’s also important to learn what the stress signals are. Individual or group therapy is offered to those who need help dealing with stress, and counseling is available by various mental-health-care providers. Stress counseling and group discussion therapy have proven to reduce stress symptoms and improve overall health and attitude. There are promising treatments for stress. Successful management of stress depends mostly upon an individual’s willingness and ability to make the changes necessary for a healthy lifestyle.

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