What is stress?
Stress is a normal physical and psychological response to sudden dangers and challenges. When we become stressed, our body releases a bunch of chemicals such as adrenaline, to activate our fight or flight response. This was beneficial for our ancestors, as we used this burst of adrenaline as a tool to either run away or hunt for prey. However, times have changed and we don’t need this extreme amount of stress on our body, as there are no lions coming into our lives any time soon (hopefully). We need to be aware that stress is part of our toolbox to survive, it's part of everyday life.
How has stress changed in the modern world?
The amount of worry and stress in the modern world is creating a global crisis. Stress can affect anyone at any time including our emotions, behaviours, thought process and physical health. No one is immune to the pressures of life. At work, raising a family, or studying for an exam. The truth is we were not designed for the lives we live today. We are all human and stress is part of everyday life, but it is important that this stress doesn't overcome us, as this is where extreme amounts of stress can lead to significant health problems. When we experience chronic stress, our body stays alert, even though there is no danger. Chronic stress can cause high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, inflammatory diseases and many emotional and psychological problems. Anxiety is a sign of stress in modern living.
Below are the four main types of symptoms of stress:
Easily agitated, frustrated, feeling overwhelmed, irritability, unhappiness and low self-esteem
Low energy, aches and pains, weight gain or loss, insomnia, loss of sexual desire, headaches and chest pain
Constant worrying, forgetfulness, Inability to focus, negative mindset and feeling anxious
Changes in appetite, sleeping too much or too little, isolating ourselves and procrastinating
Methods to help reduce stress
There are ways we can help to reduce the stress in our lives.
- By keeping active and exercising we can feel less anxious and more positive about ourselves. When our body feels good, our mind often follows. Exercise can also help improve our sleep and better sleep means better stress management.
- Eating highly nutritious foods has benefits beyond our waistline to our mental health. A healthy diet can help build up our immune system, level our mood and reduce stress.
- Unleash your inner zen and add meditation and breath work to your daily routine. Meditation has been around for over 5,000 years for a reason, it has an incredible amount of benefits for both mind and body by improving sleep, energy levels and mood.