Five minutes of stress can reduce the body's immune system function
for up to five hours.
Does the above statement surprise you?
Stress. It seems so vague and non-specific. You may be wondering, well, what exactly is stress and why should you be concerned about it?
Most people tend to think of stress as something that happens to us. We think that the situation is the stress. Something does happen to us, however it's what happens on the inside that characterizes it as stress.
Stress is actually the mind and body's response to any demand that disrupts your balance. The cause of stress (a stressor) can be a real event or an imagined one.
The stress response is commonly referred to as the "fight or flight" response. We instinctively go into the fight or flight mode as a form of protection. This natural response is a built-in mechanism that serves our higher good...to protect and preserve our survival and our sense of well-being.
However, when stress becomes chronic, it then becomes detrimental to our health and well-being. Too much stress or no relief from stress leads to exhaustion and a myriad of health problems.
Most people associate chronic stress with high blood pressure and heart disease. However, the negative effects of stress accumulate over time and can cause other problems too, such as depression, bone loss, brain cell destruction, impaired memory, impaired learning, weight gain, muscle atrophy, and blood sugar problems.
Did you know that stress-related disorders account for 75-90% of all doctor visits?
Unmanaged stress has been linked to increasing health care costs by up to 7 times as much as physical risk factors, such as smoking, obesity and lack of exercise.
What a paradox! The stress response that was inherently designed to protect us from harm, is now causing us harm!
What can you do about it? Knowing the early warning signals of too much stress can help you reduce its effects before your physical and emotional health are adversely impacted. And if your health has suffered as a result of stress, the good news is that the "side effects" are reversible.
Would you like to turn things around?
Take a moment right now and think about how stress might be affecting your health. Are you already facing some stress-related disorders? Do you have health challenges that are being magnified by stress?
In the next blog post we'll explore how different kinds of stress may affect you, and how stress can work for you.
Until then, take a deep breath..... ahhhhh.
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