STRESS IS EXTREMELY COMMON NOW DAYS
- December 2, 2021
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OUR BODIES ARE NOT EQUIPPED FOR LONG-TERM CHRONIC STRESS
Stress is extremely common nowadays and affects us all. It is rare for anyone to completely escape it in today’s world. Experts say self-reported stress has skyrocketed in recent years. While some stress is believed to be beneficial, too much stress can wear us down and make us sick, both mentally and physically.
What Is Stress?
Stress is the body’s reaction to harmful situations, whether they are real or perceived. When you feel threatened, a chemical reaction occurs in your body that allows you to act in a way to prevent injury. This reaction is known as “fight-or-flight,” or the stress response. Our bodies respond to stress by increasing our heart rate, quickening our breathing, tightening the muscles, and then blood pressure rises in readiness for action. It is how our bodies stimulate us to protect ourselves.
Stress means different things to different people. What causes stress in you may be of little concern to another person. Some people are better able to handle different forms of stress than others. And, not all stress is bad. In small doses, stress can help you accomplish tasks and prevent you from getting hurt. For example, stress is what gets you to slam on the breaks to avoid hitting the car in front of you. Our bodies are designed to handle small doses of stress. But, we are not equipped to handle long-term, chronic stress without ill consequences.
How common is stress?
While the coronavirus pandemic is primarily a physical health crisis, it has had a widespread impact on
people’s mental health as well, by inducing considerable levels of fear, worry, and concern in the general and leading to – or worsening – loneliness. The ‘Health at a Glance: Europe 2020’ report found evidence of higher rates of stress, anxiety and depression, in particular among specific groups. The growing burden on mental health caused by the crisis has been referred to by some observers as a ‘second’ or ‘silent pandemic.
The American Institute of Stress reported 80% of U.S. workers acknowledged they experience stress on their jobs. In 2020 the American Psychological Association reported nearly half of all U.S. adults (49%) said that stress had negatively affected their behaviour.
What is more concerning is research shows women are more stressed than men about the global
coronavirus pandemic and are taking more precautions because of it. Women are worried that they or someone in their family will get sick from the coronavirus. They worry more about losing income and worry more about putting themselves at risk because they can’t afford to stay home.
The first step to controlling stress is to know the symptoms of stress. But recognizing stress symptoms may be harder than you think. Most of us are so used to being stressed, we often don’t know we are stressed until we are at the breaking point.
|Common effects of stress|
|On your body||On your mood||On your behaviour|
|Headache||Anxiety||Overeating or under-eating|
|Muscle tension or pain||Restlessness||Angry outbursts|
|Chest pain||Lack of motivation/focus||Drug or alcohol misuse|
|Fatigue||Feeling overwhelmed||Tobacco use|
|Change in sex drive||Irritability or anger||Social withdrawal|
|Stomach upset||Sadness or depression||Exercising less often|