Continued stress doesn’t tend to lead to a healthy lifestyle. Although an emotion that is found around the animal kingdom as a way to deal with an external force or event, as times have developed, stress has taken on a whole new definition within our lives. Whether it be work, personal life or other issues nibbling at your subconscious, stress is now more commonly associated with a challenging situation.
Small pangs of stress or anxiety happen to everyone now and there, but if it becomes more and more frequent, there is a good chance that it begins to affect you on both a physical and mental level. You may have noticed from previous experiences that small stressful bouts characterize themselves by a rapid heart rate, sweating, tense muscles and quick breathing – this is our fight or flight response.
Of course if stressful events happen few and far between, the health risks presented are low, but once it becomes a more common occurrence, the issues begin to pile up. High levels of stress have been linked to mental health issues such as depression, mood swings, irritability, sleep deprivation, eating disorders, lack of concentration and a range of other problems. In turn, stress can also take a physical toll, with it being linked to higher rates of cardiovascular disease, tiredness, premature aging and similar ailments.
Often times, people’s way to deal with stress can have compounding effects on their health, with many turning to quick-fix solutions such as alcohol, smoking, drugs or food. These will exacerbate certain health pitfalls already present from the ongoing anxiety and could serve as a negative feedback loop whereby sufferers continue to self-medicate at that level whenever they feel as though they are in a stressful situation.
That being said, there are other ways of relieving stress that does not involve the options listed above. High-intensity sports, fitness programs, hobbies and other such extra-curricular activities have been known to reduce stress. There is a relatively large proportion of people who prefer to exercise or pursue an interest in order to calm themselves down. Other calm-inducing behaviours which help clear your mind, such as reading a book, going for a walk or engaging in meditation also have a hefty following.
On the other hand, stress and anxiety medication still make up a major share of pharmaceutical sales, as the curative powers of medicine tend to hold many in their grasp. That isn’t to say that using doctor-prescribed drugs are a bad thing – far from it. It does pay to remember, however, that constant use of medication can lead to health problems of their own, and in some cases encourage dependency.