It’s not easy to be a caregiver. It can take a toll on your emotions, finances, and relationships with others. Caregiving for an aging loved one is about more than just doing what they need because of their physical or mental limitations. You have to care for them emotionally and psychologically — which means that you may experience burnout from time-to-time.
Stress is something that we all deal with in our lives. It can be anything from the stress of doing your taxes to working long hours or dealing with a difficult boss. Stress has been shown to play a major role in developing chronic diseases, like diabetes and heart disease, as well as preventing them. Stress levels have been increasing over time and people are not taking care of themselves like they should be.
Let’s take a look at how stress affects health and what you can do about it!
How Stress Affects Health
Stress affects your health in many different ways. There are some immediate effects that happen right away, like causing ulcers or headaches, but there is also long-term damage done to the body. Chronic stress levels can lead to illness and disease if it goes on for a prolonged period of time. Stress has been shown to play a major role in developing or preventing a number of illnesses and diseases including heart disease, as well as preventing them. Stress levels have been increasing over time and people are not taking care of themselves like they should be.
There are actually some benefits to stress. Short-term stress has been known to boost the immune system. This can be beneficial to fight off infections or other illnesses. Hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline can assist us to better adapt to the stressors that life throws at us. Cortisol is known to boost our immune response when we are under high levels of stress. Higher resilience is observed in those with higher than average levels of stress-reducing hormones, like endorphins. When under stress, the body releases adrenaline into the circulation. This results in physiological responses such as increased breathing and blood flow, slower digestion, and greater vision.
Stress can even be used as a form of motivation to meet professional or personal deadlines or accomplish goals. Working under pressure, as well as intense periods of activity, including exercise and driving, can be beneficial. It has a stimulating effect on the brain similar to that of an adrenaline rush. In certain instances, it may even improve your memory.
Stress has been shown to play a major role in developing chronic diseases, like diabetes and heart disease, as well as preventing them. Stress levels have been increasing over time and people are not taking care of themselves like they should be.
However, chronic stress often times has the opposite effect and weakens the immune system because it is constantly trying to restore homeostasis. It does this by releasing cortisol which depletes white blood cells (the infection fighters).
Long-term stress is defined as a continuous or recurring stressor. These can be little, if any, daily pressures such as work, home, and social obligations that everyone feels from time to time. They might also include distressing events that you experience over a long time, such as domestic violence, chronic illness, or a bad home environment.
Chronic stress has been shown to contribute to the development of heart disease and cancer, as well as lower life expectancy. It is not just physical damage that chronic stress causes. There are mental conditions associated with long-term high levels of stress such as anxiety and depression. These conditions can make it difficult to cope with stressors and further damage your health.
Ways to Handle Stress
Managing stress helps control many chronic conditions or reduce your risk for developing them. Developing coping mechanisms and ways to deal with stressors can help minimize their negative impact on your life. Ways to handle stress may include:
• Recognize the signs
• Regular exercise
• Healthy diet
• Better sleep
• Relaxation techniques
• Seek professional help
• Tai Chi
• Deep breathing exercises
• Spending time with family/friends
Stress is harmful to one’s health if it happens for an We’re all under a lot of stress these days, and it’s important to remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Stress is a normal part of life, but too much stress can have serious consequences for your physical and mental health. The effects of chronic or acute stress on the brain are well-known to researchers, so it’s important you understand what they mean in order to take care of yourself better. If this post has made you more aware about how stress affects your body and mind, we hope that our tips will help keep things under control when you start feeling overwhelmed by daily stresses again.