Three Things You Should Know About Stress

A little bit of stress can actually be good for you.  In small doses, it can help motivate you to succeed and perform under pressure. However, that chronic feeling of being overwhelmed can have some serious health implications.  Here are three things you need to know about stress.

  1. Stress is Common– Everyone feels stressed now and then, but responses to stress can vary greatly. Some people cope with stress more effectively and recover more quickly than others. There are also different types of stress, each carrying its own physical and mental health risks.  Here are three common types of stress:
  • Routine stress related to pressures of work, family, school or other daily responsibilities.
  • Stress brought on by sudden negative change, such as job loss, divorce or illness.
  • Traumatic stress experienced in a major event like an accident or natural disaster in which people may be in danger of being seriously hurt or even killed.
  1. Stress Isn’t Always Bad – Stress can motivate people to prepare for a test or job interview. Stress can improve performance.  Stress can even be life-saving in some situations.  In response to danger, your body jumps into flight or fight mode and prepares to either face a threat or escape to safety.  In these circumstances, your pulse and breath increase, your muscles tense and your brain uses more oxygen – all in an attempt at survival.
  2. Long-Term Stress has Serious Health Implications – If the stress response goes on for too long or becomes chronic, it can have a negative effect on your health. Chronic stress can suppress immune, digestive, sleep and even reproductive systems, which may cause them to function improperly.  Symptoms of chronic stress vary person to person.  Some people may experience digestive symptoms while others suffer from headaches, sadness and irritability.  People who suffer from chronic stress are also at increased risk of viral infections.  Unfortunately, sometimes people are unaware of long-term stress.  Over time, the continued strain can contribute to serious health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and depression.

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