By Constance Weygandt
We cannot exist without stress. Stress is the body’s response to a perceived threatening situation. It is meant to protect us. Positive stress allows us to perform at higher levels and to face challenges in life. We have all heard of situations where individuals perform unimaginable feats of strength and courage to save the life of another person. That is positive stress. This type of stress provides us with the extra physical and emotional resources needed when our life or the life of someone we love is threatened. On a smaller scale, positive stress creates great athletes, allows us to ace a test, speak in front of an audience or obtain a job promotion. We can face and overcome all sorts of situations due to positive stress. Normally when the situation ends our stress levels return to normal.
However, negative or bad stress has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Research has shown that 90% of office visits to the doctor can be attributed to stress related symptoms. Most modern stress can be attributed to how we perceive a situation. Even though we may not be presented with an actual physical threat, our blood pressure rises, our heartbeat quickens and our breathing becomes more rapid. Chronic stress occurs when we are subjected to a host of perceived, constant, little threats. Some of these can be driving in heavy traffic, debt, problems in the workplace, problems at home and unrealistic expectations.
Chronic stress affects our organs and creates a magnitude of health problems. Some of the effects of chronic stress are heart attack, digestive problems, asthma or trouble breathing, ulcers, headaches, muscle tension and hair loss in women. Stress also affects the regulation of insulin levels which can lead to Type II Diabetes. Some of the symptoms of chronic stress are heart palpitations, shortness of breath, back or neck pain, insomnia, skin problems, fatigue, weight loss or gain and high blood pressure. An overload of stress basically upsets the balance in our bodies and weakens our immune system. Therefore, it is important to recognize the symptoms of chronic stress and learn what to do about them.
Constance Weygandt is a speaker, author and balance mentor. For more information on health and fitness or to sign up for Constance’s newsletter, visit her website at www.balancedwellnessonline.com
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