If you’ve gone through life without dealing with an ounce of stress, allow us to both congratulate you and ask for tips. Because for everyone else, stress is just something that we all have to face. It doesn’t matter where it comes from or how much of it is there — it’s simply a fact of life.
So, for something that we pretty much know about, why is it still so difficult to manage? The tendency is to just let stress either slide past us or bottle up until it explodes. Aside from being very bad ways to deal with stress, these are also health hazards.
Because while stress might be something that settles in your brain after a long day, your body understands this as something it can physically react to. And that’s what makes managing stress so important.
The Stress of Existing
Our body has a more intimate understanding of stress than we might think. Every time we strain it past its limits, it interprets this via chemical signals, sending a distress call to the brain. That’s why prolonged stress can feel so exhausting even if you aren’t doing anything physically intense. Our body interprets it as the actual effort.
You don’t need to do anything too intense for this feeling to trigger, even consciously. Your body gets stressed out, say, when you move from an air-conditioned room to a sunny sidewalk quickly or when someone who’s sick sneezes around you. Anything that upsets the natural balance of your body can be perceived as stress.
The Price of Stress
So, if it isn’t in our head, what’s the cost of stress like? The first and most obvious sign is your appearance. Ask any esthetician in Salt Lake City and you’ll be told that stress leads to your body’s chemicals working overtime. And when it clocks in that much, your body’s definitely going to feel the strain — from your hormones acting up to acne breaking out.
After your appearance is your body’s overall state. Large-scale studies have shown that unattended chronic stress is one of the most unhealthy things we can experience. It can dull our brain earlier, put us at risk for heart disease, and in some cases, cause organ failure. Not only will you look bad, but you’ll definitely feel bad.
So, What Should You Do?
There are plenty of ways to deal with stress. Eat good food, do yoga, hang out with friends. But the most essential step is to understand what your stressors are and how to avoid them. It’s much more manageable to avoid the sources of your stress instead of dealing with the aftermath, and the changes that you can make can be small yet impactful.
Of course, if you do find yourself experiencing high levels of chronic stress that you can’t manage by yourself, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. But for all the other times, just remember that stress is your body’s way of telling you to treat yourself for a change. Slow down. Your body will thank you.