Stress cannot be completely avoided, and actually a certain amount of stress is good. When we think about stress, we are referring to being overloaded, burdened down with tension which can cause health problems unless it is diminished. Coping with stress is not easy; however over stressing of our bodies is responsible for the following various health concerns:
1) Heart Disease - Stress damages blood vessels, resulting in higher blood pressure, increased heart rate, and resulting in poor circulation that makes the muscles of the body and heart weaker from lack of proper oxygen.
2) Diabetes - Stress may increase poor eating habits and increase alcohol consumption, which results in higher glucose levels that, of course, a diabetic needs to avoid.
3) Migraines and Tension Headaches - By restricting blood vessels, stress may bring about migraines, and long term pressure can result in a tension headache.
4) Stomach and Intestinal Problems - Stress can increase likelihood of chronic heartburn, or acid reflux disease by the tension exerted on throat and esophagus muscles. It can also cause irritable bowel syndrome in the intestines or worsen stomach/intestinal ulcers.
5) Anxiety and Depression - Higher stress perhaps from family issues, job pressures, adds to higher anxiety levels, and loneliness along with low self esteem can break a person's spirit, especially with no perceived end in sight, which can lead to severe depression.
6) Alzheimer's Disease - Although not the reason for Alzheimer's, stress can increase the formation of lesions more quickly in Alzheimer's patients, so stress does hasten the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
7) Asthma - Stress is not a direct cause of asthma; but it can worsen symptoms. Due to stress's effect on poor circulation, it may effect breathing regularity enough to lead to asthmatic problems. Also the habits of parents, such as smoking, can have a direct influence over whether a child is inclined towards asthmatic symptoms.
8) Problems of Obesity - The higher the stress, the more fat is stored especially in the belly area. Higher cortisol levels result from stress which increases the risk of fat being stored. Also stress can lead to a stronger desire for "comfort foods" which can cause overeating.
9) Higher Cholesterol and Triglycerides - During times of stress, the increased release of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood are primarily due to the hormones cortisol and adrenaline that are produced along with the high stress levels.
10) Rapid Aging and Premature Death - Stress can hasten the aging process by effecting the DNA in our body cells. Since stress can result in the above problems and diseases, there is a higher level of premature deaths related to stress.
Stress does need treatment. If severe it may be necessary to have a physician or a psychologist help. For less severe consequences, here are 5 positive suggestions to ease stress and anxiety, and 5 negative ones to avoid in order to reduce stress factors.
Positive Tips to Reduce Stress Negative Traps to Avoid with Stress
• Resolve conflicts as soon as possible, learn • Allowing resentment and bitterness to to forgive and respect people, so anger does build up due to anger issues that will only not create tension between you and others. destroy your peace of mind.
• When tense, find ways to relax--take a walk, • Pressuring yourself beyond your limits a bath, meditate and pray, take time to breathe or allowing others to do that to you, not deeply, a massage, talk with a friend or exercise. taking reasonable breaks from pressures.
• Have a flexible schedule to follow so you keep • Being swept along with impulses and on track, and yet have time alloted for needful allowing trivial interruptions to dictate interruptions that are inevitable. and control you, resulting in goal failures.
• When lonely, seek interaction with positive • Allowing loneliness and depression to people, reflect on happy events, pray to God, dictate your outlook, self worth or mood. listen to music, read a book or do a hobby. Eating comfort foods, thinking no one cares.
• Take time to grieve over serious losses. Know • Allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by God and others do care. Seek counsel, support devastating losses to the point of giving groups, talk to a friend that truly understands. up on life, blaming yourself, or withdrawing.
The old advice, "take time to smell the roses" we have all heard, but rarely practice. We can concentrate on the beauty and fragrance of a rose, or we can fret and worry about the thorns. Much of our stress in life is worsened by dwelling on all the "thorns". It is our decision--life circumstances and our outlook can be much like that. When we learn to diminish stress, our view of life is more beautiful and fragrant.