A Guide to Understanding the Effects of Long-Term Stress
Causes of Long-Term Stress
Long-term stress is caused by events or situations that may last over a long period of time. This may include everything from difficult jobs, dealing with dysfunctional relationships to having a chronic disease. In fact, chronic diseases themselves are often the result of long-term stress.
The Link Between Mind and Body
Since the mind and body are inextricably connected, the interaction between the two often produces physical and emotional changes. When the brain notices stressors, physical reactions are triggered. This can lead to further physical and mental damage. While many problems like head and muscle aches can be directly caused by bodily responses to stress, most other disorders may be aggravated by stress.
Learn more: 4 Ways To Avoid Negative Stress Using Your Body
Physical Effects of Long-Term Stress
Common physical effects of long-term stress may include fast breathing and heartbeat, headaches, stiff neck, tight shoulders, and back discomfort. Sweating, upset stomach and cramps, nausea, and diarrhea are also commonly associated with stress and anxiety. Long-term stress can even lead to hair loss and hair thinning, in which case the scalp may need to be stimulated or treated with Kera Fiber.
Emotional Effects of Long-Term Stress
Stress is noticeable from how a person is feeling, acting and thinking. Many people exhibit abnormal behaviors when under too much stress, because their bodies are busy dealing with unnatural circumstances. For example, a person may be:
- Irritable and cranky
- Unable to deal with small problems
- Tired more than usual
- Feeling jittery
- Finding it difficult to focus
- Worrying about small things
- Feeling unable to act quickly enough
- Anticipating that unpleasant things will happen
Common illnesses that may occur or become exacerbated due to long term stress include:
- Heart problems
- High blood Pressure
- Hair loss
- Skin Problems
Also, a susceptibility to infection can lead to a variety of other illnesses. This is because stress suppresses the immune system which produces a vulnerability to infections. Existing conditions and illnesses like allergies and arthritis are also exacerbated by stress. Stress also slows recovery rates for existing illnesses.
Coping with Long-Term Stress
There are a variety of coping strategies that people can use to fight long-term stress. For instance, addressing an underlying situation with regard to work or a relationship may lessen stressful situations. Seeking counseling is another method that can work well for many people. The following strategies are known to reduce stress:
- Clearing away clutter
- Enlisting help with tasks from friends and family
- Using time management to eliminate and combine tasks
- Confiding in friends and family
- Support groups
- Deep breathing and meditating
- Sitting peacefully outdoors
- Writing in a journal, poetry or prose
- Going for a walk or drive
- Regular exercising, yoga and stretching
- Engaging in a sporting activity
- Taking a bath
One of the most important methods of coping with long-term stress — but one of the most difficult, at times — is to be kind to yourself.
Long-term stress and anxiety can often reduce our receptiveness to things we enjoy. But scheduling time for fun, relaxing hobbies as a routine or a reward can lighten the weight of issues like school, work, and family.
Take time to indulge in listening to music, reading books and magazines, watching television, or seeing a film. If you have the spare finances, treat yourself to a visit to a spa or shopping for a gift for yourself. Sometimes you’re the only person who knows how hard you’re working, and only you know that you deserve a reward.
Social activities and interaction can also make the burden of long-term stress easier to bear. Try joining a social activity group; attend a play, symphony, athletic event or lecture. Playing a game or engaging with a pet can also be stimulating and relaxing.
The human body is designed to withstand an occasional level of extreme stress. However, while the body is able to survive certain amounts of pressure, every person is different. Therefore, it is important to note recurring symptoms and take action to correct them quickly and as permanently as possible. One of the best strategies is to get to the root cause and incorporate engaging in relaxing activities regularly as part of a healthy lifestyle.