We all feel stressed at different times. We struggle when we feel there are too many demands placed on us. We feel stressed when we find ourselves in situations in which we feel we don’t have control over what is happening in our lives, at home or at work.
Long-term stress impacts us on so many levels. We can feel unable to cope. We find it difficult to make decisions and deal with the events in our lives. Stress can also lead to problems like anxiety and depression, as well as memory and concentration problems.
Stress also impacts us physically. When we are stressed, our bodies respond with the fight, flight or freeze response, releasing the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Adrenaline increases heart rate and raises blood pressure. Cortisol affects the immune system and the digestive system. The long-term consequences of chronic stress? Increased risk of heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain, headaches and digestive problems.
That is why it is stress management is so important for our health and wellbeing. We can’t always change our circumstances, but we can learn strategies to manage the impact life events can have on our mental and physical health.