When stress never seems to go away, health can suffer.
Not all stress is bad. The stress response -- also known as the fight-or-flight response -- occurs automatically and rapidly when a person feels threatened. The physical response may include increased strength and agility, quicker reaction times and increased heart rate and blood pressure.
Historically, this response has been important for human survival. But today’s stressors, such as jobs, relationships or finances, tend to be prolonged, and they pile up. The result can be a fight-or-flight response that runs far too long, and can cause ill health effects such as digestive difficulties that range from stomachaches to diarrhea, anxiety, irritability, insomnia and depression.
Here are tips to help reduce the negative effects of stress:
Identify the causes:
Concentrate on dealing with stressors that can be changed:
Limit needless daily stressors:
Change the pace:
Recognize signs of stress:
Whatever the early signs, learn to pay attention so you can interrupt the stress cycle and change what you can control.
For stressors beyond your control -- such as the death of a loved one -- it may help to recognize the stressful situation for what it is and try to accept it. Avoid letting the situation and thoughts about it become all consuming. Seeking diversions can help you keep a healthy perspective.
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