Everyone knows that prolonged stress, anxiety and depression can be cruel to our bodies. There are events and everyday tasks that can stress us out completely, give us anxiety, or lead us to depression.
The thing is we don’t choose to have these problems, but it is also not easy shaking them. Sometimes we don’t realize how bad stress, anxiety and depression can be especially when it’s been over a long period of time. So what exactly can happen to our bodies?
Here is a quote by Kris Carr that really puts the dangers of stress, anxiety and depression into perspective:
“If you don’t think your anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact your physical health, think again. All of these emotions trigger chemical reactions in your body, which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system. Learn how to cope, sweet friend. There will always be dark days.”
Although stress may help us in certain situations to stay alert and motivated for a specific task. Stress that is unrelenting can lead to distress, which is the body’s negative reaction to stress. The physical symptoms of distress can be headaches, upset stomach, high blood pressure, chest pain, sexual dysfunction, and trouble sleeping. The emotional symptoms of distress can be depression, panic attacks, and forms of anxiety or worry. Worrying comes natural to us. When we are nervous or unsure of something, we typically worry about the outcome. A little bit of worry won’t hurt, but prolonged worry that turns into anxiety can be tough for our bodies to handle. Anxiety is a reaction to stress that can lead to generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or social anxiety. Within the U.S. anxiety is common as it is known to be affecting nearly 40 million adults. The symptoms that come with worrying can affect your daily life so much that it interferes with your appetite, lifestyle habits, relationships, sleep, and job performance. Ongoing depression can be a serious problem if it is not treated. With untreated depression the chances of risky behaviors are greater. For example, people with untreated depression may turn to drugs and alcohol. At the time they may think that this is helping them cope with their feelings of being depressed, but the chances of becoming addicted are far greater and overall the drugs and alcohol will not treat depression. The physical symptoms of depression can be life threatening. A recent study suggests that patients who were recovering from a stroke or heart attack had a more difficult time making health care choices. Also, patients with major depression had a higher risk of dying within the first few months after a heart attack. The affects of prolonged stress on your body can be very harmful, but there are ways to fight against stress so that it doesn’t take over your life. Here are some quick tips for combating stress:
- Remember: This too shall pass. You’re a little late on your electric bill, your boss is unrelenting with new projects, the kids are sick. Again. Everything seems to be piling up all at once and it seems like the sky is falling. Remember that you are just going through a rough spot and that anyone would get stressed out in these situations. Things will get better. Focus on the positive things in your life.
- Learn how to self-soothe. Yes, you are going to face stressful situations and sometimes they get the best of you. However, next time try to change the situation. Use a breathing technique that you learned in a yoga class or simply take a few seconds to relax and breathe. Also, use positive self-talk. Remind yourself how strong you are and that you really can do it.
- Get more sleep. A study done from the University of Pennsylvania showed that losing a couple hours of sleep caused stress. Try to get in bed a little bit earlier if you are feeling especially stressed that day.
ACTION: START USING THE TACTICS ABOVE TO COMBAT YOUR EVERYDAY STRESS. REMEMBER THAT THEY CAN BE USED IN ANY SITUATION. TAKE SOME TIME BEFORE RESPONDING IN A NEGATIVE WAY. DO NOT LET STRESS TAKE OVER YOUR LIFE. YOU ARE IN CONTROL.
Internationally recognized Positive Psychology Coach Lisa Cypers Kamen is the Founder ofHarvestingHappiness.com, Director of 501 (C)(3) nonprofit Harvesting Happiness for Heroes (HH4Heroes.org), and Host of weekly Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio. Currently living in Los Angeles, California, Lisa Cypers Kamen is the mother of two active children. She is philanthropically dedicated to the success of various charities related to children and military issues.