The long term effects of stress can impact your physical and psychological health, as well as your lifestyle and your social relationships. Studies suggest that chronic tension, or stressful episodes that occur regularly over a substantial period of time, can make you vulnerable to a long list of disorders, conditions, and complications. Medically, these include high blood pressure and resulting risk of heart attack or stroke. With a high stress lifestyle also comes an increased susceptibility to alcohol or drug abuse, or dangerous levels of overeating. Stress can also lead to social isolation or mistrust of friends and community members. By managing your stress today, you can take a strong step in preventing your body from developing one of these major health problems a few years down the road. Knowing the potential effects of stress can help you get motivated and stay motivated as you take steps towards a happier, healthier, low-stress lifestyle.
Stress And Your Heart
Stress can cause an explosion of hormones, including floods of cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones tell your heart to race at top speeds in order to prepare your body to deal with a crisis. Although a racing heart can be useful when fighting an enemy, running for a speedy escape from a dangerous scenario, or pushing yourself to your physical limits in sports, most of the time your heart works harder than it needs to during a stress episode. Every time you feel a sudden flood of stress or aggravation, your blood pressure temporarily goes through the roof. Many experts believe that continually occurring stress may contribute to long-term blood pressure problems, increasing the risk of a heart attack or a stroke by causing wear and tear on your heart muscle. If you can’t eradicate stress from your life, the next best thing is to engage in cardiovascular exercise for at least half an hour on at least three days a week. This will help your heart stay strong and resilient so that it will better be able to stand up to physical stress.
Stress And Dependency
A high level of stress on a daily level can lead people straight into the clutches of drug addiction or alcohol abuse. One of the primary effects of stress is that it makes it difficult to relax and enjoy things, so many people who live high tension lifestyles use substances to unwind or recreate. All too often, this desire for a bit of peace spins out of control to become a full-blown dependency on alcohol or drugs. People often use overeating the same way that they would use a few drinks-as a way to chemically force relaxation in the face of stress. Rather than attempting to self-medicate with drugs, alcohol, or food in order to get rid of the symptoms of stress, attack stress at its source. Getting rid of the cause of your tension will provide you with healthy relief that lasts longer than a few hours of intoxication. For immediate relief, head for a free support group. Look on the internet or try any library in your area for information on local chapters of organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous.
Stress And Your Friends
At times of peak tension, many people see their social lives wilt and wither. High stress levels often increase irritability, which means that you are more likely to bicker and fight with friends during a stressful period. In addition, a stressful lifestyle often brings with it issues of time management, so it can seem difficult or even impossible to find the hours you need to forge and maintain social relationships. Ironically, scientific studies suggest that feeling connected to and supported by a social community is one of the most effect ways to combat the negative effects of stress. This means that although it can be difficult to make your social life a priority when faced with a very demanding workload or family situation, in the long run taking a few hours to see a movie or share a meal with your friends will help you better cope with all the other stresses in your life. This makes it a great investment of time and energy. If you can’t find the time for a full evening of social fun, try to find brief periods in your day where you can squeeze in a phone call to a buddy. Whether it’s during a coffee break at work, or on a cell phone while you’re waiting for the bus, dialing a pal for a quick hello will help you stay in touch and feel better at even the busiest, most stressful times.