Health & Fitness :: What Is Stress And How Do You Handle It?

Health & Wellness


Stress, at its’ most basic, is very useful to us. It is the body’s natural reaction to danger and is also known as the “fight or flight” mechanism. What it does is to flood the body with hormones which prepare us to deal with danger either by facing it and fighting it or by running away from it – fast enough to escape.

Faced with danger, the body immediately produces large quantities of cortisol and adrenaline. What that does is to heighten awareness, increase the heart rate, induce sweating, and prepare muscles to be ready for action. So, looked at from that point of view, stress is not a very good thing. It also increases blood pressure, makes us breathe faster, and reduces immune activity, and the digestive system slows. Faced with fighting a grizzly bear, the body is not concerned with what you had for lunch.

There are three main types of stress, the first being acute stress. This can be the result of having an argument with somebody or perhaps having a bill upcoming and knowing that you do not have the means to pay it. If the argument is resolved, or you find a means to pay the bill such as a short-term overdraft, that stress will simply disappear. Short term effects may appear in the form of headaches or an upset stomach but will disappear when the problem has been overcome.

People who have acute stress frequently may be experiencing episodic acute stress. They may feel they never have enough to pay the bills, there is never enough time to do everything they need to do, and that there will always be something “lurking around the corner” when they have got over the current problem, even if they do not know what it might be. There may not even be anything lurking around the corner, but they believe that there will be, because there always is. This type of worry can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Then there is chronic stress. This can be the result of an unhappy relationship, continuing poverty, a job that they really dislike, but they can see no way out of the situation. Then there comes a point where they stop looking for solutions, believing that there aren’t any, and what then happens is that they become used to it and it just becomes a part of their daily life. People who suffer chronic stress can suffer mental breakdown that can lead to heart attack, violent actions against others, or even suicide.

Several major events that can occur in life can lead to stress, and these include lack of money, lack of time, job problems, illness, family problems, relationships, and even moving home. Moving home is actually known to be one of the most stressful things that we ever do.

There are several things that you can do in order to help to reduce stress. Not the least of these is finding something that takes your mind off everyday worries. Simply reading a book, listening to music, or going for a walk can help in many instances. Taking exercise has also been proven to be beneficial. Meditation, massage, and yoga can also help. All of these are relaxing.

Eating a nutritional diet can also help, as can reducing amounts of caffeine and alcohol. Just talking to family and friends and “letting off steam” can be helpful, and you may find that you are not the only one with the problem.

In addition to massage and yoga, another string to your bow may be acupuncture. This is becoming more and more widely used in the West today, to the point where it is becoming recognised as a form of medical treatment that is no longer “alternative”. Acupuncture for stress in London has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, producing many immediate benefits, one of the advantages over drugs being that it has been shown to have no known side effects.

It’s a fact that in the world today we all have to deal with a certain amount of stress in our lives, but why resort to drugs if there is a way of coping with it without using them?

by [vikkyopea]

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