Stress isn’t in and of itself a bad thing. It’s a natural process designed to protect or at least prepare us for imminent danger. Stress helps us run fast to catch a train or run away from a threat. Back in the day, it got us ready to fight or flight. Stress motivates us to stop procrastinating and get our work done. It’s what makes us sit down and study for that final exam or to get our taxes done.

In small doses and for a short time, stress is a good thing. It becomes a problem when we are under too much stress and when it’s constant. Chronic stress is what causes all those negative side effects and health issues like high blood pressure and heart disease. But stress is tricky. It builds up slowly and sneaks upon us. We get used to being overworked and overstimulated. Often we don’t even realize just how stressed we are until something happens and our body forces us to slow down. Don’t let it come to that. Learn to see the early signs of being too stressed. Take control of it, work on reducing stress, and most importantly make time to rest and relax so you can recover from the unavoidable stress and pressure life throws at you.

Often the first signs that you’re being stressed out is a general feeling of anxiety and feeling unwell. You may start to have trouble sleeping and it is harder to concentrate and focus. You may be eating more and snacking throughout the day in an effort to keep your energy up. Sweet and salty foods are particularly appealing, and it’s not uncommon to get in the habit of self-medicating with a glass of wine or the likes in the evening to unwind. You are feeling overwhelmed and it’s all too easy to focus only on the negative. From there it’s just a short trip into depression and loneliness. That in turn comes with its own set of physical symptoms like nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, and the likes. You will even be more likely to come down with the cold or flu as your immune system is compromised.

The problem is that these symptoms of being stressed tend to stress us out even more. We keep pushing harder to make up for lost time. In turn, we get more stressed and start feeling worse. The only way to break the cycle is to address the problem – the stress. We do it by making a conscious effort to cut out stress, relax, and give ourselves, our bodies, and our minds the time and rest they need to recover.

To Your Health,