Like it or not, stress is part of everyday life. We are all vulnerable to it in one way or another and no one is immune.
The extent to which we experience stress will vary, depending on our lifestyle and to some extent, our physiological predisposition – but what exactly is it?
Essentially, stress is our body’s response to external pressures. Historically, it was a survival mechanism - the “fight or flight” reaction we experience when faced with a demanding or threatening situation. In the modern world, it can be caused by anything from deadlines to confrontations, travelling, new situations or even just being caught in traffic!
Physically, when faced with a stressor, we experience a surge of hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine, which in turn cause a rapid increase in our energy levels. This actually helps us effectively to deal with whatever challenge or difficulty we are facing - so stress in itself is not entirely bad! However, when we experience prolonged exposure to this stress response it can start to have a detrimental impact upon our long-term health and wellbeing.
Chronic or ongoing stress can cause physical, emotional and cognitive symptoms, which vary from person to person, so there is no way of predicting how it will manifest. What we do know for sure is that when stress builds to an unmanageable level, we reach breaking point and Burnout becomes a serious threat. Thankfully we can take steps to avoid all of these pitfalls and keep our stress levels within a healthy range!
Here are five key reasons why you should make stress management a priority:
1. Preserve your self-esteem to maximise your confidence every day!
Chronic stress has been linked to distressing physical symptoms such as hair loss, weight changes and acne. When under pressure, the last thing we need is to be worried about not looking our best. These superficial niggles undermine our self-esteem and can contribute to a general feeling of being off our game, which in turn increases stress levels further. Stay on top of stress levels to keep your self-esteem intact and feel confident to tackle anything!
2. Unleash your inner go-getter by protecting vital energy levels!
When we continually burn the candle at both ends, our energy reserves become depleted, leaving us feeling tired all the time. Constantly running on low energy and feeling exhausted is not conducive to living life to the full or maximising your potential. Be mindful of stressors accumulating to keep your energy levels topped up, enabling you to make the most of every day!
3. Protect your health and immunity to stay on top of your game!In moderation, stress hormones can work to our advantage and help us rise to a challenge. However, repeated or prolonged exposure to these hormones can overstimulate the immune system, leaving it compromised and vulnerable. Not only does this mean we are more susceptible to getting ill, but more serious health complaints can arise too. Keep stress levels in check to optimise your health and immunity, so that you feel fighting fit and able to achieve your goals!
4.Banish the blues and bolster emotional wellness to live your best life!
Ongoing and repeated exposure to stressful situations and pressures can leave you feeling overstretched and overwhelmed. This in turn can have a detrimental effect upon your emotional wellbeing, leaving you at risk of developing depression and anxiety. Reduce this risk by effectively managing your stress levels to optimise your emotional wellbeing and liberate your capacity for success!
5. Cover all bases to boost your day-to-day resilience and be ready for anything!
All of these factors are key elements to succeeding in life and each one is essential to our overall ability to achieve our goals. Maintain your general resilience across the board by prioritising stress management, keeping you feeling your best and ready to face whatever life throws at you!
Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but it doesn’t have to lead to negative consequences. By making stress management a priority in your life, you can shield yourself from the harmful effects and keep stress down to a manageable level – leaving you fit and able to pursue your goals and live your best life!
By Gemma Coldwell - Contributing editor
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