Stress is, unfortunately, an unavoidable part of the human experience. Whether being overworked is getting you down, you’re dealing with family or money problems, or you’re having to face a completely new challenge – such as, for example, moving abroad, as we did fairly recently! – stress gets us all down at some point. When you’re in the depths of anxiety, stress relaxation can seem impossible. But what causes stress, and what are the less known negative impacts of this common emotion?
The ins and outs of stress
Those of us familiar with the concept of ‘wellness’ view stress as a feeling of being out of balance with oneself. To be more specific, when we experience stress, a fight or flight response is triggered in our nervous systems. It activates something called your sympathetic nervous system, giving you a rush of adrenaline, increasing your breathing and heart rate and causing you to become alert, flushed and sweaty. This evolutionary response was valuable in the Paleolithic period as a form of protection against attacks from saber-toothed tigers, bears and so on. Now, however, this same response can be triggered by anything from an impromptu meeting with your boss to misplacing your glasses, making stress relaxation all the more difficult.
Why stress relaxation can make all the difference
Excessive stress isn’t just an inconvenience: it can also negatively impact our mental health, behaviour towards others and long-term physical health. It can affect our mood, our sleep and our ability to think clearly and make decisions, which can, in turn, lead to more stress, creating a vicious cycle. It can cause us to lash out and snap at others, damaging relationships and causing us to become more hard on ourselves in turn. As well as causing an increased heart rate and blood pressure, stress can also have long term negative impacts, such as detrimental effects upon skin and the ageing process and, in some extreme cases, it can cause life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks or strokes.
What are the benefits of managing stress?
Have you ever heard the expression ‘life only begins at the edge of your comfort zone’? As shown by this saying, stress isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, stress can push us in the direction of personal growth. Many people require some element of stress to provide them with stimulation, motivation, or even help to bring their ‘best-self’ out. Whilst too much stress and a lack of stress relaxation can lead to serious consequences in terms of our mood and health, too little can lead to complacency and boredom. In that regard, we could think of stress as falling within a kind of ‘Goldilocks’ zone’; not too much, not too little, but just the right amount.
The bottom line
It’s vital that we check in with ourselves every now and again, press the reset button and find ways to cope with stress. Whether that’s through meditation, relaxation exercises or just a bit of time to yourself. If you’re interested in reducing your stress levels and need a little extra help, we’re here. Contact Adore Wellness and one of our family medicine and wellness specialists can find a way to help you begin your journey towards stress relaxation today.Back to blog