How Long-Term Stress Can Harm You

Is All Stress Bad For Us?

Stress affects us all in one way or another. The important thing to understand is that not all stress is bad stress.

What Is ‘Good Stress’

The kind of stress that is good for us is the sort that occurs when we are facing imminent danger. In this case, the age old fight or flight response kicks in. Just as when cavemen used to run away from marauding dinosaurs, so the fight or flight response releases a surge of adrenaline into our system. This results in our heart beating faster, our muscles tensing, and our breath coming in short, rapid bursts. All of this is designed to help us escape as fast as possible or to fight the danger facing us.

Long-Term Stress

This results in our heart beating faster, our muscles tensing, and our breath coming in short, rapid bursts. All of this is designed to help us escape as fast as possible or to fight the danger facing us.

Symptoms of Long-term stress

It is when stress becomes chronic and long-term that it can become detrimental to our health. Some signs of chronic, long-term stress include: Increased irritability or irritation experienced on a daily basis

• Feelings of anger or frustration

• Insomnia or loss of appetite

• Loss of libido

• Feeling as if you are unable to cope

Long-term stress can result in a number of health issues including cardiac problems, migraines, skin complaints such as psoriasis and eczema, digestive problems, sleeping problems and more serious diseases including cancer. We do not yet understand why long-term stress affects us this way both physically and emotionally. What we can do is address the causes of stress so that we reduce or eliminate them from our lives.

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Our Expectations and Stress

One very effective way to reduce the amount of stress in our lives is to lower our expectations.

This applies both to ourselves and to others. By setting the bar lower we immediately eliminate a lot of the frustration associated with not having our expectations met. This frustration and the anger that goes with it is one of the major causes of stress.

This does not mean that we need to compromise our standards or values but rather that we set ourselves up to win more often. This, in turn, result in positive feedback that boosts self-esteem and further reduces long-term stress.

Lifestyle Changes To Combat Stress

There are also a number of small lifestyle changes that we can easily make that will have an immediate impact on our levels of stress. By simply including a daily half-hour walk in our lives it has been shown that we can boost our overall emotional and physical health.

The opportunity to get away from daily irritations and problems and simply enjoy and experience the benefits of nature is, in itself, enormously beneficial. In addition, the cardiovascular benefits of daily exercise undertaken at a reasonable pace help to counteract the detrimental effects of raised blood pressure, increased heart rate and muscular tension that so often accompany long-term stress.

It is vital to understand that, unless long-term stress is identified and eliminated, its negative effects will build up over time. This, in turn, leads to a cumulative negative effect on our health and well-being. Stress is not some 21st-century badge of honour. It is a real disease and should be treated as such.

If you are suffering from long-term stress it is time to take an objective look at your lifestyle to work out what needs to change.

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