There is both good and bad kinds of stress. Unfortunately most of us are probably more familiar with the bad kind. So, what actually is stress and what physically causes it?
Stress is caused when there is a perceived threat in the environment. We commonly refer to it as the “fight or flight” response because our autonomic nervous system is activated, and a hormone called epinephrine is released into our bloodstream. Our body internally prepares itself to flee from the threat, or shift all of our energy towards confronting the threat.
Stressors, also known as the stimuli that cause stress, can be a variety of different things in our lives – big life changes such as move or job change, the loss of a friend or family member, or an illness.
Stress manifests itself in our bodies and comes out in different ways that may include:
- High blood pressure
- Muscle tenseness
- A slowed digestive system
- Decreased immune system
- Lack of energy
If stress is not dealt with, it can present itself in more long-term and potentially dangerous ways to the body. It can create depression/anxiety, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, heart disease, or obesity. For these reasons, it is best to deal with the root cause of your stress head on.
How can stress possible be good? Well, have you ever felt that jolt of energy or fast racing heart as you try to complete a task in time, or remember something that you once memorized? Stress is sometimes considered beneficial when it helps your body allocate energy towards accomplishing a task and completing it more effectively.
Sit down, reflect, and identify your stressors today. Identifying them is the first step towards finding your new inner peace and leading a healthier lifestyle.