Wellness: What Is Stress?

Wellness: What Is Stress?

Wellness: Many people, doctors included, sometimes consider “stress” to be an illness.

We can be signed off from work for it, medicated for it, it even has spin-off illnesses of its own.  “Work-related stress” is a much discussed subject, and is taken far more seriously these days than in days gone by. But is stress always bad for you? In physical terms, did you know that if you do not keep your muscles stressed, they start to shrink and waste away? An easy way to lose 1cm from your thighs is to stay in bed for a few days!

Whilst NHS does not consider stress itself to be an illness, it does acknowledge that if left untreated, stress can actually cause serious illness.

So what is stress?

Stress is that feeling we experience when we are under too much mental, physical or emotional pressure.The pressure boils over intro ‘stress’ when it becomes too much and we are unable to cope. It is a personal moment. Stress to some, is motivation to others. It is one of the in-built functions that is wholly unique.

Stress will affect how you think, behave and feel, it will even affect you physically. One of the most common signs of stress is experiencing sleeping problems, headaches, excessive sweating, loss of appetite and difficulty concentrating on anything for very long. In terms of feelings, you will feel irritable, anxious, self-conscious or insecure. You will find it difficult to control your thoughts and will constantly be making decisions or working through things in your head. In terms of behaviour, this could lead to unreasonable communication, loss of temper and you could begin to rely on external ‘quick-fixes’ like alcohol or drugs.

Stress has a physiological effect. It will cause hormones to surge through your system. These stress hormones were designed to help you to deal with pressure or threats. In other words, the ‘fight or flight’ response. Once the pressure has abated, these hormones go back to their usual level. If the pressure does not dissipate, these hormones remain, causing the common symptoms of stress.

Humans were designed to feel stress so there is little you can do to stop it. What you can do however, is learn to manage it. Learning to spot your own symptoms, learning some relaxation techniques, ensuring you exercise regularly and make sure you use your time well and balance work and personal life well. Meditation and mindfulness techniques have been proven to work very well and should not be sniffed at! Here are 10 stress busters techniques you can also try!

photo credit: BlackMan

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