Stressful situations can trigger a cascade of stress hormones that produce identifiable physiological changes. Whether the stress is a result of external challenges such as a looming work deadline, or an internal trigger such as persistent worrying about losing a job or financial pressures, any stress trigger will initiate some physiological response in your body. This can be a very healthy response, preparing the body to undertake a necessary task, but some triggers result in an unhealthy and/or prolonged response and can be dangerous not only in the short-run but also over time.
Some potential long-term effects of stress which has not been managed in a healthy way include high blood pressure, the formation of artery-clogging deposits, and heart disease. Excessive stress can also produce brain changes that may contribute to anxiety and/or depression. Research suggests that chronic stress may also contribute to obesity, both through direct behaviors (causing people to eat more) and indirectly (decreasing our sleep and exercise).
As a result, managing stress is something that everyone should always be mindful of. While we may not have control over many of the life events which introduce stress into our lives, we can try to control how we manage that stress.
There are many techniques individuals have found useful to help put the brakes on stress and counter its potentially harmful effects. A few techniques you might want to consider include:
- Deep breathing exercises.
- Mindfulness meditation.
- Massage Therapy.
- Mental imagery relaxation.
- Relaxation to music.
- Counseling, to help you recognize and deal with stress in a healthier way.
Stay safe & be well,