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The Effects of Stress on Your Body
Stress is the body's reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses.
Many events that happen to you and around you -- and many things that you do yourself - put stress on your body.
You can experience stress from your environment, your body, and your thoughts.
How Does Stress Affect Health?
The human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. Stress can be positive, keeping us alert and ready to avoid danger. Stress becomes negative when a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between challenges. As a result, the person becomes overworked and stress-related tension builds.
Stress that continues without relief can lead to a condition called distress -- a negative stress reaction. Distress can lead to physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping. Research suggests that stress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases.
Stress also becomes harmful when people use caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, or drugs to try to relieve their stress. Unfortunately, instead of relieving the stress and returning the body to a relaxed state, these substances tend to keep the body in a stressed state and cause more problems.
Consider the following:
43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
75% - 90% of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
Stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace.
Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.
The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.
To start, what does it mean to be balanced?
It means that you have a handle on the the various elements in your life and don’t feel that your heart or mind
are being pulled too hard in any direction. More often than not, you feel calm, grounded, clear-headed, and motivated.
How do you find your balance?
The elements in life that require the most balancing can be divided into two categories: internal and external.
Oftentimes, people focus on one more than the other. For example, you may find that you focus on external things – like work, relationships, and activities, and that you pay very little attention to what is going on inside your heart and mind.
On the other hand, you may find that you spend so much time being self reflective that you sometimes miss out on the experience of living. Other people may be fairly balanced between the two but might want to balance out some specific elements within each category; so I this little outline helps us better understand the beneficial components on both ends of each spectrum.
Internal (Mind, Heart, Health)
Mind: Challenging yourself intellectually vs. creating opportunities for your mind to rest
Heart: Giving love vs. receiving love
Health: Eating, drinking, exercising properly vs. resting and treating yourself to some extra yummies
External (Work, Social, Family, Fun)
Work: Pushing yourself to achieve goals vs. seeing the bigger picture and enjoying the ride
Social: Satisfying your social desires vs. taking time for yourself
Family: Fulfilling your familial responsibilities vs. creating healthy boundaries
Fun: Allocating time for things you enjoy doing vs. making sure you don’t overdo it