Stress is the body’s way of preparing to protect itself from a perceived danger. This response is called the fight-or -light response. When the body is set into the fight-or-flight mode, it sets of an entire chemical process. This process stimulates the body to produce chemicals, such as adrenaline, that will set the body in motion to protect itself. Adrenaline sets off a chain-reaction that includes acceleration of breathing and heart function, constriction of blood vessels in many parts of the body, dilation of blood vessels for muscles, and much more. The fight or flight response literally effects every part of the body. In Nature, this response helps to save lives. For humans, too, this response can be a life-saver in times of physical danger, such as in a fire, car crash, etc.
We all face stress in one form or another each and every day. There is some type of stress involved in happy events, such as weddings and births, and there is stress in hard times, such as the current global financial crisis. Stress can be a very beneficial; it can also have harmful effects. Stress can be good in helping you to get a job completed on schedule, or it can help you during an emergency, such a escaping from a fire. However, stress can also damage the body if it is prolonged or happens too often. Chronic stress can cause you to be more emotional, and mentally unstable; it can also bring on many physical symptoms such as stomach trouble, tense muscles, aches and pains. Prolonged stress can also weaken your immune system, putting you at increased risk of contracting infections and chronic disease. On top of all this, chronic stress can also harm your relationships and your job performance.
Some signs of chronic stress:
- Constant feeling of tension or of being on edge
- Constantly feeling annoyed and frustrated
- Moodiness-become easily angered, depressed
- Chronic insomnia
- Change in eating habits-either eating more or less than normal
- Lack of interest in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyable
- Trouble with concentrating or making decisions
- Becoming easily distracted-easily losing your train of thought
- Life in general is overwhelming on all levels.
If you find yourself experiencing all or several of these symptoms of chronic stress, it’s time to find ways to manage the stress and/or seek the help of your doctor or other health care professionals.