Doctors advise on how to counteract the harmful effects of stress
In modern life, we have to solve a lot of problems and make serious decisions every day. A frantic pace, external negative influences, lack of adequate rest, high responsibility - all of this negatively affects the nervous system and in the long run leads not only to physical but also psychological exhaustion. In turn, being under constant stress is harmful not only to the emotional sphere, but also to the entire body.
An immediate reaction to stress can be beneficial, as it forces the body to accumulate all its strength to fight the danger. However, chronic stress has a detrimental effect and increases the risk of serious illness. In consultation with cardiologist Payal Kohli, MD, Healthline explains the negative effects of stress and how to avoid them.
Stress is the body's natural response to factors that you perceive as threatening. It can be acute and caused by a situation to which you can quickly adapt and return to normal. Examples of acute stress include going to the doctor, speaking in front of a large group, a job interview, or a traffic jam.
If a problem has no concrete solution for a long time, and the body is constantly in a state of tension and readiness, it is chronic stress, which can reduce defences and disrupt the functioning of other systems. Chronic stress can be caused by serious illness, pressure at work, family or relationship problems, financial difficulties, discrimination, etc.
How does stress affect the body?
The reaction to stress begins in the brain and is accompanied by the release of the hormones cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. This hormonal surge can be manifested by an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, blood flow to the muscles, impaired digestion, etc.
If this condition lasts for a long time, it causes negative changes in the functioning of vital organs. For example, a recent study of more than 118,000 people from around the world showed that high levels of stress are associated with the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease and death.
In addition, according to scientists, stress at work is associated with a 40% increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease, social isolation and loneliness increase the likelihood of heart attack and stroke by 50%, and receptive stress, which you experience regardless of the cause, can contribute to coronary heart disease.
Unfortunately, this is not the only negative impact of stress on the body.
Researchers have traced the link between stress hormones and blood pressure. Thus, they claim that the risk of high blood pressure increased with each doubling of the level of cortisol, adrenaline or norepinephrine in the participants' urine, and they also had a significant likelihood of a heart attack or stroke.
Stress hormones also have a negative effect on insulin, forcing the body to release stored sugar into the bloodstream for use as energy. Experts have shown that chronic stress was associated with a 2-3-fold increase in the risk of type II diabetes over 3 years.
In addition, constant emotional exhaustion can change the way you live your life. For example, under the influence of stress, some people are prone to reduced physical activity, overeating, excessive alcohol or drug use, which in turn leads to malfunctioning of the body and diseases.
How can we protect ourselves from the harmful effects of stress?
Of course, it is impossible to completely avoid stressful situations. However, there are ways to help yourself and prevent serious negative effects on your body. To do this, choose a method that works for you.
Be active. Physical activity is not only good for the heart, but can also lift your mood and protect you from stress. To improve your well-being, try to exercise regularly and choose the type of sport that brings you pleasure.
Learn to relax. Relaxation techniques are an effective stress reliever. They can also lower blood pressure and slow your heart rate. If you feel that emotional exhaustion is just around the corner, practice aromatherapy, breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, or massage to calm yourself down.
Get enough rest. The whole body needs healthy sleep, and the nervous system is no exception. Regular good rest will give you the strength and clarity of mind to deal with problematic life situations.
Socialise. Surround yourself with close people and friends - sometimes even knowing that you will be supported and be there for you can be reassuring and give you confidence in a difficult time. In addition, do not hesitate to seek professional help from specialists if you are unable to cope with stress on your own.
Choose a thing you like. We don't always do what we like. That's why it's worth finding time for your favourite thing to avoid stress. Find time for something that really brings you pleasure: read books, listen to music, or go for a walk in the fresh air.
Modern life requires a lot of stamina and energy. Constantly moving at this pace can take a toll on the body and cause stress. To avoid emotional exhaustion, use simple ways to help not only preserve your nervous system but also help prevent the development of serious diseases.
Earlier, OBOZREVATEL named ways to calm down. Psychologists note that hugging loved ones and dancing can help calm nerves in a stressful situation.