- Stress is a normal part of life
- Chronic stress can cause health problems
- Accept things you cannot control; concentrate on those you can
- Use exercise, yoga or meditation to reduce stress
Stress responses are normal parts of our life. Stress can trigger our "fight or flight response".
Fight or FlightThe body has adapted to respond to a perceived threat to life by choosing to fight back or run away. Specific changes in the body occur to enable that to happen including the release of hormones.
Stress can have the following effects
- It can make you feel angry, afraid, excited or helpless
- It can make it hard to sleep
- It can give you aches in your head, neck, jaw and back
- It can lead to habits like smoking, drinking, overeating or drug abuse
- You may not even feel it at all, even though your body suffers from it
Acute StressWhen we find ourselves in an emergency situation for example, this is acute stress. Acute stress is a short term event and is a natural response to the situation we find ourselves in. Some stress can be beneficial, keeping us motivated and helping us act in an emergency.
When we find ourselves in a recurring or constant situation of stress, this will quickly wear us out and over time can lead to physical disease. Stress is also thought to negatively affect our immune systems. Chronic stress most often occurs when we are overwhelmed and feel out of control of the situation.
Perceived control has a great deal to do with stress. Not being in control makes us feel vulnerable and we can view this as a threat to our well being.
How to respond to chronic stress
- Relaxation techniques
- Concentrate on things we can control
- Taking holidays
- Generate support