Stress has an effect on your body. Stress can do more damage to our bodies than most people think. Many people over-estimate their bodies’ limits and push themselves to extremes just to get a job done, while hoping or believing that their bodies will adapt to the stress imposed upon them.
Truth to tell our bodies have certain limits within which they can function; exceed those limits and you will end up in a hospital bed waiting for your body to recover. Stress can affect you in many ways – physical, mental and emotional functions can all be disrupted, leading to the inability to function properly in social, personal or work life.
Headaches and muscle pain can both result from the tension caused by stress, and can increase in severity if ignored.
Major changes in stress level will affect your bodily functions. This could involve diarrhoea, constipation, nausea and dizziness. You might find it hard to sleep at night even if you feel weak and need rest. Many people resort to medication to deal with such symptoms, dealing with the symptoms but not addressing the causes.
For some people severe stress causes chest pain and rapid heartbeat, the same symptoms as imminent heart attack for others. And very severe stress can lead to heart attack or stroke in people who already have a vulnerability in those areas.
As well as physical manifestations of stress in your body, you might notice some behavioral changes. Changes in sleep pattern, lack of sleep or inability to sleep during normal hours is frequently the first sign of stress; it may be followed by negative heightened emotional responses and hypervigilance in mental function.
Great stress which robs us of our ability to approach problems rationally can lead to irritability and anger, or to depression leading to voluntary isolation and possible self-pity, all negative and unpopular behaviours.
There are ways of tackling various manifestations of stress in our lives. An important first step is learning to recognise the signs when we are experiencing greater than normal stress. Once we have caught this in ourselves we can consciously encourage ourselves to relax, using techniques like meditation, breathing exercises, aromatherapy, or music therapy to encourage a state of relaxation in our minds. Once we have achieved this step, we can proceed to deal with the stress that affects our bodies.
Or we can approach the issue from the other side, deliberately working on bodily relaxation first. We can start by pampering our bodies with relaxation exercises, warm baths, or whatever we know helps to soothe us. Physical exercise can help to develop cardiovascular functions, strengthening the heart and helping to regulate blood pressure. Also, we need to keep a close check on diet, making sure we avoid junk foods and fast foods that are known to have detrimental effects on our health. Fresh fruits and vegetables are good to start with – we need our five a day.