Hand pushing needle to pop the stress balloon

The Mess of Stress.

Stress can be seriously messy. It can disrupt your life, your health, and your relationships. We have all heard the expressions flippantly dished out from time to time, “Take it easy”, “Calm down” or “Take a chill pill”, however unhelpful these sayings are. 

I want to arm you with a coping strategy for those fraught minutes/hours/days/weeks. There are many therapeutic calming exercises, as well as social outlets that can help alleviate the build-up of stress. Therefore a little bit of  ‘Me time’ or therapy could potentially aid one’s ability to cope with stress and thus these mechanisms could be developed to prevent the build-up of stress at all.

What are the Categories of Stress? 

Many people are unaware that there are two categories of stress:
2 Distress
Eustress motivates you to keep working and provides you with the incentive to get the job done. This is good stress and some people enjoy and thrive on it. Everybody needs a little bit of stress in their lives, in order to be happy, motivated, challenged and of course productive.
Now when all this Eustress builds up and is no longer tolerable or manageable, it becomes Distress. It is this type of stress that most of us can relate to. This in turn could leave us vulnerable, exposed to making poor decisions, and facing many more psychological hurdles, that many of us stumble over. It is then that we start to develop physiological symptoms of distress like raised blood pressure, increased breathing, or generalised tension, all of which are unpleasant for us to endure.

Reasons for stress

The problems associated with stress is when it becomes chronic. When this level of stress becomes a feature of daily life, such stressors can develop from:
3 Unemployment.
4 Family tension.
5 Work tension.
7 Negativity.

What happens if you experience long-term stress?

Living with continual low-grade stressful situations contributes directly to physical deterioration.                                    Adding to the risk of diseases like:
1 Heart attack.
2 Stroke.
3 Infections.
4 Asthma. 
And many more.
A study in the UK called the Whitehall Stress Study showed that stressed workers suffered ill effects. Proving that emotional stress is a negative reaction to a problem, resulting in ill health.
Yes, that’s right your emotions can make you sick and the negatives can result in having a negative effect at a DNA level and potentially ultimately shortening your life.
More studies have shown that Good Nutrition, Exercise, and Sleep can reduce all these negatives associated with stress.
Chronic Stress ultimately predicts disease, mainly via inflammation. People who have a high tolerance to stress have developed the power to endure it and overcome it. Of course, everyone’s tolerance is different and is affected by the time and condition they experience it.

How do I cope with stress?

The trick of coping with stress is not to expect to limit it but rather manage the symptoms of the stress. Teach yourself to become more resistant and have a willingness to work at becoming less affected by your triggers. Coping mechanisms include:
– Laughter.
– Stop feeling guilty.
– Be decisive.
– Set priorities.
– Stop procrastinating.
– Be true to yourself.
– Praise the person you know best….You!!
So now we know that stress can be good in small doses but chronic stress takes a large toll on your body.
Give your body a fighting chance. Relax and unbusy yourself and try some of these useful tips:
– Mindfulness training (living in the moment).
– Purposeful social contact, a problem shared is a problem halved.
– Parenting classes
– Cognitive behavioural therapy
– Yoga cool-down periods, in fact, any exercise including walking can be a great distress.
– Pets, time spent stroking your dog is invaluable, not only from your dogs perspective!
Remember meditation is a great restorer of stress-free days.
So don’t stress the small stuff. If you have a problem face up to it, think how best you may address it. Then act on it. Talk to your friends, go for a walk, cuddle your neighbour’s dog. Do whatever it takes to unburden yourself because in doing so you will definitely feel better and your health will improve. Then live a long healthy and Happy life!
So now that we know that stress can mess with your health both physically and mentally. Remember you are never on your own most people suffer from stress at some time in their lives and invariably they suffer in silence, so now is the time to TALK!

Edward O’Reilly

Lifestyle Pharmacist 

087 205 1039


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