Are you working harder than usual, but yet, not finding enough time to relax? Are you trying to be more organized, but yet, has no time left to spend with your friends and family? Are you always on an edge, feeling as if your life is out of kilter? Are you finding everything so overwhelming that you have little time or energy left? Is your health, happiness, relationships, work and family life suffering because of your unceasing stress?
You are not alone. The pressures of modern life is guaranteed to leave stress-marks in its wake. However, study after study has brought to the spotlight the consequences of living a stress-filled life. Adverse health effects and a persistent inability to enjoy life are mere examples.
Stress is basically body’s natural reaction to protect itself, from a real or imaginary threat. When we first become aware of the threat, original or perceived, our body freezes for a few seconds, before kicking into the fight-or-flight mode. After we freeze, our stress levels increase and it is evident in physical form too; we breathe more rapidly, our heart pumps quicker, our pupils dilate, our palms sweat and we might feel a need to vomit or defecate. Under a life-threatening event, these responses are quite natural and necessary. However, in other cases, when the brain is merely reminded of an original trauma, these responses are actually causing more harm than good.
For example, it is good if the blood pressure rises in response to an immediate threat. But, if it stays raised for weeks or months or even years, this can induce stress-induced hypertension, heart disease, adrenal dysfunction or other physiological problems.
Likewise, the sexual response and digestive processes are deprioritized during a highly stressful event. Naturally so, as we don’t want to be thinking about food or sex, when a ferocious tiger is in the vicinity. However, if we continue to feel similarly in the long-term, we might develop digestive or sexual problems.
The effects stress has on mind are manifold. When we become highly stressed, what’s known as “emotional hijacking” occurs. This means that your cognitive or thinking brain takes a temporary backseat, as your survival or stress responses take over. Clear thinking is impossible when we become highly anxious. Too much thinking and analysis might slow us down during a true emergency. But, if the stress response stays switched on for too long, then the person might find it hard to plan or think strategically at all. Highly stressed people can find their thinking muddled and this, in turn, can damage their self-confidence.