Q: What are some problems stress can cause?
A: It might be quicker to name the conditions that are not caused or influenced by stress.
I assume you?re referring to negative emotional stress, something that can be hard to avoid in today?s hectic, fast-paced world. Stress can be acute, or short-term, or chronic, or ongoing. The American Mental Health Association reports that between 75 percent and 90 percent of visits to doctors are in some way related to stress.
Stress can raise blood pressure and heart rate, cause insomnia, fatigue, indigestion, anxiety attacks, muscle pain, clammy skin, changes in appetite, and more. Stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, can weaken the immune system and make people more vulnerable to infection and disease. Longer-term repercussions from stress include cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic digestive disorders, mental illnesses and suicide, among others.
Many adults today work long hours and face difficult challenges in day-to-day life. But some people cope with stress better than others. They seem to take things in stride and generally have a more positive outlook on things. This positive attitude appears to play a role in reducing the detrimental effects of stress.
If you?re under a lot of stress and are worried about its health effects, stop worrying and start making some stress-busting changes in your life. It may take only a couple of minor modifications in your daily routine to make a big difference in the way you deal with stress.
Regular aerobic exercise is great for reducing stress. Even 30 minutes of walking daily is extremely beneficial. Meditation or relaxation techniques can be very useful, too. Talking about your problems, whether to a counselor, friend or family member, can relieve stress, as long as you don?t spend all your time grousing and complaining.
Try to spend more leisure time with your loved ones, whether that involves outings, games or just sitting around shooting the breeze. You may have trouble finding the time or money for a restful vacation, but you can schedule a micro-vacation every day by taking time for an activity that you find pleasurable. It could be something as simple as reading or taking a bath.
Daily stress can make us sacrifice healthy choices in our lives. When we?re stressed out, we tend to eat poorly, sleep less and forego exercise and pleasure. But healthy habits can serve as a counterbalance to the negative impact of stress, so try not to neglect them.
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