Daily Doses of Stress What’s It Doing to Your Overall Health?
When the brain perceives physical or psychological stress, it stimulates the body to release the hormones cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine into the body. Instantly, the heart beats faster, blood pressure increases, senses sharpen, a rise in blood sugar invigorates us, and we’re ready to jump into action. The moderate amounts of stress we get from a sudden burst of hormones can help us perform tasks more efficiently and improves memory. Still, we also know when there is an excess of stress hormones flooding our body for longer than 24 hours, all kinds of bad things start to happen.
Long-term, chronic emotional stress that lasts weeks or months can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, exhaustion, and depression. The impact of everyday stressors and the body’s responses can depend on how you think about the stress. Emotional responses to minor stressors can take the form of negative or positive affect (mood), and negative affect has been connected to poor health. If you think and react to the daily stress as it is going to harm you, it will have a negative impact on your overall health.
High reactivity to daily stressors contributes to the risk of developing a chronic illness. One study found that greater increases in negative affect in response to everyday stressors increased mortality. A decrease in daily positive effect over ten years has been correlated with almost double the mortality risk.
Because the emotional component of a response to stress fluctuates and can be affected by many different factors, changing the way you think about the stressor can decrease your emotional reactivity. Research has established that increased levels of mindfulness improve daily affect. Basically, we can change the way our brains respond to stress with coping techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and exercise. Mindfulness has been shown to reduce negative feelings as well. Improve stress management in the way you think about and react to stress can have a huge impact.
Those powerful stress hormones are there, first and foremost, to help you survive. Still, a decrease in positive affect can decrease your ability to deal with daily stressors, leading to long-term health decline. Good stress is the type of emotional challenge where you feel in control. It stimulates and provides you with a sense of accomplishment – and is far from being something we need to eliminate from our lives. Stress management in the way of changing how you react to daily stress may be one of the most important health promotion efforts you can make. For more information, call Compassionate Healthcare Associates, 661 295-7777
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