Stress is a potential health problem because it can lead to other emotional and physical complications.
Stress can indirectly cause other health problems by affecting your behavior. Signs that you’re under stress may include:
- Unhealthy nutrition – You may skip meals or overeat, or eat too much of the wrong foods – for instance sugary and fatty foods.
- Dependence on other substances – You may drink too much, smoke, or use medications or street drugs to deal with stress.
- Moody behavior – You may behave in ways that endanger your physical well being from getting into arguments to ignoring traffic signals.
- Sleep disturbances – You may not get enough sleep, and lack of sleep will, over time, reduce the effectiveness of your immune system to fight off illness and further affect your judgement.
- Physical inactivity – You may not be motivated to get enough exercise.
The natural stress response is “fight or flight.” As the adrenaline starts pumping, your heart beats faster, your blood flow and pressure go up, and you breathe faster. If there is no release mechanism, beside the physical manifestation, it could lead to anxiety or mood disorders. These can be disabling, and can lead to more serious problems that result in hospitalization.
Be aware of what causes stress for you. Watch for the physical signs and learn how to deal with them.
Here are some tips that may be helpful:
- Set priorities for yourself. Organize your time so you do the things that are most important to you first.
- Concentrate on doing one thing at a time. Yes, I know, we live in a time of multi-tasking. Beside the unnecessary stress this juggling causes, you never have time to take a moment and feel good about what you’ve accomplished.
- If you are running late or if you feel overwhelmed, cancel and reschedule your appointments.
- Learn to say “NO!”
- Don’t try to do everything yourself. Ask friends and family members to help with some of your responsibilities.
- Make time for regular exercise and don’t forget to have fun!
- Think about which situations cause you stress. Plan ahead to minimize or avoid these predictable sources of stress.
- Schedule breaks for yourself throughout the day.
“Do not belong so wholly to others that you do not belong to yourself.” ~ Baltasar Gracian