“Modern life is full of fuss and disappointment. Many people experience stress so often that it becomes a part of their everyday lives. Find out how to manage stress!”
Stress isn’t always a bad thing. It helps to carry out the necessary actions and is an excellent natural motivator to do everything perfectly. But when you constantly work in emergency mode, your mind and body pays a high price for this. However, you can protect yourself if you can recognize the symptoms of stress and take steps to reduce the negative effects on the body.
What is Stress?
Stress is the physical reaction of the body to unusual situations. In a dangerous situation, stress will trigger your fight-or-flight response.
Stress is the body’s way of protecting you. If this mechanism works correctly, it allows you to remain concentrated, energetic and alert. In a dangerous situation, stress can save your life: it gives additional strength for self-defense or, for example, increases the speed of your reaction.
Stress also helps you cope with difficulties. It is stress that helps you deliver a speech at work, exacerbates your concentration when you try to score the winning goal, and makes you prepare for the exam when you want to watch TV.
But after a certain mark, stress ceases to be beneficial and begins to negatively affect your health, mood, productivity, relationships, and the overall quality of life.
Symptoms of Stress
Doctors divide the symptoms of stress into several categories, which are presented below. The more signs you notice, the closer you are to stress overload.
- memory problems
- inability to concentrate;
- inability to reason sensibly;
- pessimistic outlook on life;
- disturbing thoughts;
- constant feeling of anxiety.
- bad mood;
- irritability or short temper;
- inability to relax;
- feeling of loneliness or isolation;
- depression or feeling that you are unhappy
- feeling of congestion.
- various types of pain;
- diarrhea or constipation;
- nausea, dizziness;
- chest pain, palpitations;
- decreased sexual desire;
- frequent colds;
- increased or decreased appetite;
- drowsiness or insomnia;
- isolation from other people;
- delaying or neglecting duties;
- use of alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to relax;
- nervous habits (e.g. biting nails, walking around the room, etc.).
The Body’s Reaction to Stress
When you feel threatened, your nervous system reacts by starting to produce large amounts of the stress hormone cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones induce the body to take extraordinary protective measures.
The heart begins to beat faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breathing quickens, all feelings become aggravated. These physical changes increase your strength and endurance, speed of reaction and alertness.
Stress and Its Effects
The body makes no distinction between physical and psychological threats. When you feel stress due to a busy schedule or a quarrel with a friend, your body reacts to it as strongly as if you were faced with a wild animal in the forest. If you have a lot of responsibilities and worries, you can be stressed most of the time. The longer the stress system of the body is active, the easier it is to get stressed and the more difficult it is to calm down.
Constant stress can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts almost all body systems. It increases blood pressure, suppresses the immune system, increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, can cause infertility and accelerates the aging process. Too much stress makes you more vulnerable to depression and anxiety.
How to Reduce Stress?
The best way to reduce stress is to eliminate the factors that cause it. However, for a modern person this is almost impossible, therefore it is important to know how to deal with stress and how to reduce its effect on the body.
Food That Reduces Stress
- Foods rich in vitamin B. These include meat products, peas, lentils. Foods with a high content of vitamin B have a calming effect on the body, help relieve tension and anxiety, and help improve mood.
- Yellow fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables with orange or yellow pigment are rich in vitamins A and C, as well as folic acid, which also help improve mood.
- Red bell pepper. It also contains vitamins A, C and folic acid, which increase energy levels and restore the body’s cells damaged by stress.
- Basil and arugula. These herbs are a rich source of folic acid. They will add a wonderful flavour to your meals.
- Sunflower seeds. They contain vitamin E and folic acid to improve mood.
Foods to Avoid During Stress
- Caffeinated drinks. Caffeine can cause anxiety, as well as increase stress hormone levels.
- Trans fatty acids. Found in sweets such as cookies, pastries, and cakes. Trans fats suppress the immune system, which leads to even more stress for the body, and also increase the risk of heart disease.
- Sugar. It contributes to a sharp increase in blood sugar, which is why the adrenal glands lose control of the production of the stress hormone and cannot protect the body from stress.
- Alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption may cause blood sugar to rise, which is harmful to the adrenal glands, which protect you from stress.