Have you ever found yourself with sweaty hands on a first date or felt your heart pound during a scary movie? Then you know you can feel stress in both your mind and body.
This automatic response developed in our ancient ancestors as a way to protect them from predators and other threats. Faced with danger, the body kicks into gear, flooding the body with hormones that elevate your heart rate, increase your blood pressure, boost your energy and prepare you to deal with the problem.
These days, you’re not likely to face the threat of being eaten, but you probably do confront multiple challenges every day, such as meeting deadlines, paying bills and juggling childcare that make your body react the same way. As a result, your body’s natural alarm system — the “fight or flight” response — may be stuck in the “stressed” position, and that can have serious consequences for your health.
Even short-lived, minor stress can have an impact. For example, you might get a stomachache before you have to give a presentation. More major acute stress, whether caused by failing in an exam or a fight with your spouse or losing child during first delivery, can have an even bigger impact.
Multiple studies have shown that these sudden emotional stresses — especially anger — can trigger heart attacks, and even sudden death. Although this happens mostly in people who already have heart disease, some people don’t know they have a problem until acute stress causes a heart attack or something worse.
How much stress is good for you?
When stress starts interfering with your ability to live a normal life for an extended period, it becomes even more dangerous. The longer the stress lasts, the worse it is for both your mind and body. You might feel fatigued, unable to concentrate or irritable for no good reason.
Chronic stress may also cause disease, either because of changes in your body or the overeating, smoking and other bad habits people use to cope with stress.
Job strain - high demands coupled with low decision making attitude - is associated with increased risk of coronary disease. Other forms of chronic stress, such as depression and low levels of social support, have also been implicated in increased cardiovascular risk. And once you’re sick, stress can also make it harder to recover.
Stress Management and Treatment
Reducing your stress levels can not only make you feel better for the actual position, but may also protect you from long-term health consequences. You can keep below things in mind to cope up with stress in a holistic manner:
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