But stress isn't always bad, the 'stress response' – also known as the 'flight or fight syndrome', is the body’s way of protecting you. When it is functioning optimally it can help you focus, and provide additional adrenaline in order to deal with certain situations, whether those situations are positive or negative.
It is only when the stress response goes into overdrive or excess that adverse effects can be noticed. If you begin to feel out of control in any situation for more than just that temporary period of time mentioned above, the symptoms of stress can 'overload'. They may begin to cause detrimental effects on your health, mood, or ability to function normally.
The physical body isn't able to distinguish between physical and psychological threats. So, whether you are stressing about a work project, for example, or a major trauma in your life such as a death, your body reads the mind's chemicals the same way and can react just as strongly in either event, IF the reaction is prolonged. The excess release of adrenaline and cortisol can cause increased heart rates, tense muscular reactions, raised blood pressure, hyperventilation, and impaired senses.
Long-term exposure to the stress reaction is what can cause health issues, and develops into chronic stress, which can result in increased blood pressure, excess aging, immune system malfunctions, and more. Long-term stress can even result in more permanent susceptibilities, such as vulnerability to long-term anxiety and depressive tendencies.
Below is an elaboration on the stress warning signs and symptoms mentioned above:
- Memory problems
- Inability to concentrate
- Poor judgment
- Seeing only the negative
- Anxious or racing thoughts
- Constant worrying
- Irritability or short temper
- Agitation, inability to relax
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Sense of loneliness and isolation
- Depression or general unhappiness
- Aches and pains
- Diarrhoea or constipation
- Nausea, dizziness
- Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
- Loss of sex drive
- Frequent colds or general illness
- Eating more or less
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Isolating yourself from others
- Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
- Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
- Nervous habits (nail biting, pacing, etc)
When faced with a state of stress or anxiety most people automatically turn to anti-depressants or tranquillizers to bring about some immediate 'calm', and a sense of normality.
However, these are fraught with side effects and suppression, drawing the issues deeper within the body rather than solving the problems, and providing further feelings of unwellness or susceptibility to illness or condition due to the side effects they can produce.
They are also very addictive, as the body learns to rely on the suppression rather than an actual resolution.
As the Director of the Stress Management Society in the UK confirms, “... there can be side effects when using pharmaceutical or recreational drugs to treat illnesses, which are (simply) not present with natural remedies. If you respond to that state in its most natural way, you can get out of stress very quickly and easily without needing to resort to artificial substances."
If you are currently suffering from stress-related or similar feelings or know someone who is. Consider these steps:
- Look at working towards correcting the triggers through resolving any causative emotional or practical life issues that are relevant. This can be done alone, with the help of family and friends, or through assisted professional counseling.
- Ensure an optimal healthy diet, fluid intake, and daily exercise regime (yoga is particularly good at working out stresses and providing the relaxation and breathing focus needed to bring about relaxation afterwards).
- Take a look at our Total Balance and Omega 3/DHA daily combination to help improve your nutritional efficiency. This can help reduce stress levels, as nutritional deficiencies can make it more difficult to handle stress, so this inclusion can help the body to deal with the beginnings of stress and stop it escalating.