In Short…..Stress Kills: Find Out if Your Stress Levels are Out of Control?
I hate to ruin your day but stress is reputed to be one of the most silent killers on the planet.
This is mainly because people don’t even realize something is going wrong, and even worse, they refuse to act on the tell-tale signs.
Why does stress contribute to so many facets of ill health which ultimately, often lead to an untimely death?
Watch this informative TED Talk and discover how to make stress your friend.
It’s because more than often it is untraceable. You may not even realize you are suffering from stress overload. From what I see in people around me this is quite common.
So, if you are interested to know if your stress is rapidly becoming out of control then keep an eye out for any of the following 7 tell-tale signs:
1. Unexplained Body Aches and Pain
A little pain here and there is pretty normal for most people and should be nothing to get worried about; but it can spell a worrying trend when it occurs too often.
And this is what happens when you are overly stressed all the time.
Muscular pains most commonly occur around the back, neck or shoulder areas and may be attributed to poor sleep patterns, although it is not always the case.
Medication to treat the pain many only yield temporary relief, and should not be relied upon as a long term solution. It is just masking the root cause of the problem
2. Frequent Colds and Infections
One thing associated with high stress levels is the negative effect on your immunity.
Cortisol suppresses the immune system and leaves the body wide open to infection. This is especially troublesome during the cold and flu season, and necessitates that extra precautions be taken (such as increasing anti-oxidant food consumption).
3. Poor Sleep Patterns
Insomnia is usually one of the first signs to appear when you are over-stressed, as cortisol does not work by itself. In fact, it recruits the neurochemicals adrenalin and noradrenalin, which enhance awareness, and energy levels.
This is an important function in the mornings when you need that “get up and go” boost, but not at night when you should be unwinding.
Use of heavy stimulant based supplements (such as with caffeine) too late at night will cause this to occur. I suggest not drinking coffee after 2pm in the afternoon. As you can imagine, an excess of alcohol in the evening is not desirable either (even though it may help you feel good in the short term).
4. How Stress Affects Blood Pressure
High blood pressure involves multiple pathways all experiencing dysfunction for its development, with cortisol happy to oblige.
High blood pressure in this case is precipitated by increases in the retention of water (which increases blood volume), faster heart rate and blood vessel constriction.
All these factors increase your blood pressure, so care needs to be taken to manage cortisol and stress levels.
5. Loss of Sex Drive
Both men and women require a normal level of testosterone to modulate sex drive, but this important hormone is suppressed when levels of the stress hormone cortisol are high.
Cortisol and testosterone share a negatively inverse relationship, meaning that as one goes up, the other goes down. If this loss of sex drive occurs in a young person who previously displayed normal behavior then it can well be a clear indication that you are overstressed.
6. Frequent Outbursts or Mood Swings
I’m sure many of you already know, it can be hard to maintain a level head when stress levels are high, causing you to lash out to anyone who seemingly irritates you.
This is not normal behavior, especially if the person involved was previously very level headed. If this does occur, it may be best to reduce your work load and spend more time with family and loved ones in a bid to chill out for a bit.
7. Depression or Feelings of Inadequacy
This one is pretty serious and if you feel this relates to how you are feeling (even occasionally) then please do something about it pronto before things get out of hand.
Depression often comes from stress and can seriously affect your emotional well-being, especially since it can tear apart relationships with family and other loved ones.
You are likely to be irritable, picking fights, or feel pressured to perform. This can amount to depression, anxiety or feelings of disappointment. Depression is sometimes difficult to diagnose, especially in people who don’t possess a strong support system.
If you find yourself experiencing one or more of the symptoms above with increasing frequency, it is time to take a step back from the burden you have placed on your shoulders.
Sometimes, a short vacation, weekend getaway or just a simple trek in the great outdoors can do wonders for your wellbeing. Even taking thirty minutes or so to go for a walk somewhere pleasant three or four times a week will go a long way to calming your addled brain.
Stress is a very common problem in modern day society and unfortunately so few people recognize its long term implications on their health or do anything about it. Learn to shed the load and look after yourself for the good of your health, your sanity and the loved ones around you.
Take care and take a well-earned break…….even if it is only for ten or fifteen minutes. Everyone needs some regular “ME” time.
And remember……wear your heart on your sleeve and ask a friend, “Are you OK?”
Cheers – John – your Active Ageing Coach and Mentor.
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