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Stress: How It Affects Your Life and Health

There’s no way around it, stress is a factor we all face in life. And while it affects everyone differently, learning how to manage stress is vital. Though some people struggle with unplugging from the world, incorporating time to ‘relax and release’ is a must, and choosing to forgo any sort of relaxation method puts your mental and physical health at risk.

What Is Stress?

Stress is how the brain and body respond to the demands place upon you, and your ability to cope with those stressors. In these moments, you usually experience a ‘fight-or-flight’ response. These stressors can be short-term such as being stuck in traffic, or they can be long-term such as dealing with a major life change or traumatic event.

Feeling the pressures of stress is not always a bad thing. In can be beneficial in some environments where a slight refueling is needed to get through strenuous situations such as work deadlines, giving a presentation, preparing for a public speaking engagement, and even exams.

However, stress becomes a risk factor when it begins to interfere with your everyday lifestyle over an extended period of time and you’re unable to normally function, according to the American Psychological Association.

How Stress Affects Your Health

Chronic stress can have serious health implications that can affect the immune, cardiovascular, neuroendocrine and central nervous systems. Studies show that stress can trigger headaches and other cardiac problems, as well as contribute to high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, depression, and more.

In an August 2016 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, they found that  three in 10 Americans (31 %) had increased stress levels in the past year, with 20 % reporting experiencing extreme stress (a rating of 8, 9 or 10 on the 10-point scale). As a result of this survey, it’s pretty safe to conclude that stress is a component that millions of Americans are battling each day.

By reducing the stress levels in your life, you’ll not only feel a prompt emotional relief, but this can also have a positive impact on your health long-term. The key is finding positive, healthy ways to manage stress as it occurs, to combat many of these negative health consequences.  

Because no one person is alike, there are probably hundreds of different ways people choose to manage their stress. Learn more about different types of healthy stress management tips and see which is the best fit for you. Check our blog for more health tips and trends.



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