Why Stress is Truly Bad for You

stress and depression

Stress is really bad for you

You’ve likely been told before that stress is really bad for you. It’s something that is constantly forced down our throats and we’re incessantly being reminded how stress can cause heart difficulties. Stress and weight gain sometimes go hand in hand, and generally brings about a lot of difficulties.

This is not news then. But what we don’t get told so often is precisely why stress is so bad for us or what it actually does to negatively impact on our health. Keep reading and we’ll look at the reasons why stress is actually such a problem and what you can do to prevent it – or at least to minimize the negative consequences.

Stress and Your Physiology

The first thing to keep in mind is that stress has a profound and direct effect on your physiology. That is to say that it speeds up your heart rate, it increases muscle tension and it makes your blood to actually become thicker.

All of this is intended to increase our efficiency at fighting and be better at escaping danger by being able to run away a lot faster. With the increase in heart rate and the dilation of the blood vessels, more blood is channeled specifically to the muscles and to the brain with the intention of enhancing focus and physical achievement.

This is all controlled by the body when it releases specific hormones- and those include dopamine, adrenaline, cortisol and glutamate amongst others. These are our ‘stress hormones’ (though some of them are more accurately described as neurotransmitters).

This is great news again for fighting and for getting away from serious threats. But what it also entails is that blood is being guided away from your other systems- away from your immune system for example and away from your digestion. When you’re being chased by a lion, or falling off a mountain, those things merely don’t really matter quite so much at that moment!

The Long Term Problem

The problem then comes when this is allowed to continue over a long period. In the wild, chronic stress was really never there: we wouldn’t have to worry about things like debt or that stress at work by having a mean boss!

And when these stress symptoms don’t go away, that means that your immune system and your digestion never get the attention they need. This is why this results with you getting indigestion or growing ill when you’re stressed constantly.

In the meantime, your body is consistently secreting out adrenaline and your heart is pumping blood at a furious rate. Eventually this can become a problem as your chances of getting a heart attack increases significantly. And remember, your blood pressure has also gone up – and this means you significantly is more likely to experience very high blood pressure.

Likewise, this extended state of stimulation can raise a number of other potentially harmful issues. For instance, the heart working this hard for this long can potentially set a lot of strain on you and maybe even to be translated into a heart attack. Likewise, the constant secretion of adrenaline can eventually lead to ‘adrenal tiredness’. At this rate, the body has exhausted its store of adrenaline, leaving you exhausted and potentially even depressed.

 

Why Stress Isn’t Always a Bad Thing – And How to Get Into a Flow State

Notwithstanding what was discussed above, stress can be considered as not always a bad thing. In reality, there are some situations where it can be beneficial to you.

Your brain lets off a large number of hormones and neurotransmitters in response to your cognition. When you are in danger, this leads to dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin being released to help stay you more alert, stronger and faster.

This is the fight or flight response and it’s you at your most powerful.

The problem is that a lot of us are stressed most of the time now and we don’t know how to turn off that basic human fight or flight response. Thus we try to eliminate stress and think we would be a lot happier if we can have that stress relief.

But the reality is that emphasized isn’t a ‘bad thing’. Rather, stress is a valuable tool that it is necessary to tap into when applicable. The key is not to eliminate stress but rather to control it. In this post, we will look into the many possible ways that this can be done.

What is a Flow State?

A great example of stress as a positive thing is the flow condition. Flow conditions are situations of increased concentration, increased focus and lightning reflexes. Often they are engaged we are immersed in extreme athletics, or when we’re totally focused on the jobs we’re doing or a conversation that we’re in.

But basically, the neurotransmitters associated with flow nations are very similar to those links with stress. The only real change is that you are growing more anandamide (the ‘bliss’ hormone) and more serotonin. Saying it differently, the only real change is that you are enjoying its own experience rather than being afraid of it.

So if they are able to tap into that when you’re next emphasized, then in theory you can experience those same increased reflexes and attention whenever you need them.

The key is simply to try and insure the stressful situation not as something spooky but rather as an opportunity to learn and to develop yourself further. View it as a challenge and your figure will change accordingly.

Eustress

Another example of ‘positive stress’ is what’s known as eustress.

Eustress is the type of stress that motivates us to do things when we need to. For example, eustress is the type of stress you experience when you have a test in the works. This may make you feel not very good – but that stress is actually what stops you from spending all day in bed asleep and motivates you to get up and review for the upcoming exam.

Research shows that people with no stress response don’t succeed as well in life and end up wasting and squandering their talent and abilities.

This is something to remember next time you need a kick up the rear- merely remind yourself why what you’re doing is important and why you need to focus on it. If you can do this, then they are able to tap into the positive influence of stress and stop viewing it as your enemy.

The rest of the time? Of the many stress management techniques floating around, this might just be the best and easiest. Just try to distance yourself from that stress response and remind your body ‘ thanks but no thanks ‘. Most of the time it is often more than enough to simply remind yourself why there is no need for you to be stressed out.

 

How stress affects your body - Sharon Horesh Bergquist

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-stress-affects-your-body-sharon-horesh-bergquist

Our hard-wired stress response is designed to gives us the quick burst of heightened alertness and energy needed to perform our best. But stress isn’t all good. When activated too long or too often, stress can damage virtually every part of our body. Sharon Horesh Bergquist gives us a look at what goes on inside our body when we are chronically stressed.

Lesson by Sharon Horesh Bergquist, animation by Adriatic Animation.

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