Yesterday I learned of the loss of a dear friend to cancer. My husband works long hours and travels 15 days of the month. I have kids that always need help or a ride. I am rehabbing a shoulder injury that has left me unable to work as much as I’d like. My family adopted a new dog that our older dog is having a hard time accepting. Planning a trip, working, trying to find time to cook and clean, the list can go on and on. Why am I telling you this? Because all of these things are stressors; and all of these things are common events or issues that EVERYONE will deal with. So, how does stress affect us, and what can we do to ensure our bodies are in optimal condition to deal with and process stress?
Stress is any positive or negative stimulus that triggers the stress reaction and can be physical or emotional. A happy event can feel stressful because it is a change from the usual. When you are experiencing something stressful your autonomic nervous system kicks in. Your heart rate increases, blood pressure and blood sugar levels rise, and the digestive, reproductive and immune systems are suppressed. Your body is ready to pour all its resources into a reaction to the stress, while all of your other bodily functions are compromised. The body should return to normal after the initial stressor has been dealt with, however, it’s when the stress response does not subside that trouble with our health ensues. Consider the following list of the negative effects of continual stress on the body:
The good news is that we can control how we respond to stress, and we can become more sensitive to stressful situations and deal with them before they manifest as physical or emotional complaints. Here are some good and effective ways to deal with stressors in our life: