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Stress

by Rongana Nath

Stress is Causing You Harm and it’s Not Worth it

Rongana Nath

A news report published in July 2018 talks about how 9 out of 10 Indians suffer from stress, with work being one of the key triggers. And surprisingly, nearly 75% of Indians do not want to seek medical help for their stress.

Stress is described as a physical response of the body that includes a feeling of strain and pressure.  When the body senses a threat or experiences any kind of demand, the nervous system releases what are known as stress hormones that alert the body for emergency action. This brings sudden changes in body functions. The blood pressure rises, senses turn sharper, breathing and heart rate increases, and the muscles get tighter. These hormones also prepare the person for what is called a ‘fight-or-flight’ response wherein under extreme stress, one either faces the situation in front of them or they flee.

Each person reacts differently to stress or stressful situations in life.

Work-related stress is not a new phenomenon. Tight schedules and deadlines, erratic work-sleep hours and the growing competitiveness are some of the common reasons for people to feel stress at their workplace.

Stress

Impact of Stress

Doctors say that a little stress is not a bad thing as it may help a person feel motivated, meet challenges, and focus even more. When someone is stressed, hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are naturally released into the bloodstream but a long-term exposure can affect the physical and mental health of a person in many ways.

  • Adrenaline is known to increase the heart rate and blood pressure and high levels of cortisol for a long time can also elevate blood pressure and increase blood cholesterol and triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood).
  • Cortisol is known to increase appetite. To curb this increased appetite, people often indulge in foods that may not necessarily be healthy. With time, this could lead to being overweight and obese.
  • Too much stress can also affect the glucose level/ blood sugar level of the body as cortisol increases sugar levels in the bloodstream. This can upset people with existing Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes even more.
  • Some people turn to smoking and drinking to cope with stress but these activities, in turn, harm the heart.
  • A headache can occur if sleep pattern is disturbed and meals are skipped due to stress.
  • Prolonged or chronic stress is also known to trigger depression if someone fails to cope well with it. Someone not coping well with stress may often find themselves to be in a bad mood and also become less productive.
  • One can have an upset stomach when the body goes through changes as a part of the stress response. One of them is the suppression of digestion which goes back to normal once the hyper-stimulated state of the body goes down. But this repeated stress-response hyper-stimulated state of the body can cause stomach problems.
  • Chest and muscle pain often accompanies stress.

 Impact on Mental Health

Someone who lets stress act against their mind and body may commonly experience-

  • Lack of motivation
  • Problems in sleeping
  • Loss of concentration

Don’t Ignore It

Stress

Stress is a normal part of life but it is better to identify it and work on it. To deal with work-related stress and also to reverse the health effects, doctors recommend that one should

  • Invest a small amount of time in a hobby or doing something of interest. This may help in de-stressing.
  • Indulge in physical activities that can lift the mood. Meditation and yoga can help calm the mind. It is advised to take short breaks in-between work and avoid working non-stop for long hours.
  • Talk to family and friends as sharing problems with close ones often makes one feel better.
  • Have a balanced diet comprising fruit and vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids (eggs, walnuts, soybean), and high-quality protein (chicken breast, cottage cheese, milk, oats). Eating healthy is always good for the body. It is advised to consult a doctor or dietician for a personal diet plan and follow it.
  • Seek help from a doctor, therapist or a specialized counsellor if it is difficult to cope with work pressures.

Stress, especially work-related stress, is often inevitable but being aware of it and managing it makes a huge difference in how it impacts a person.

 

References

Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/why-stress-causes-people-to-overeat

Help Guide org. (n.d.). https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-symptoms-signs-and-causes.htm

WHO. (n.d.). http://www.who.int/occupational_health/topics/stressatwp/en/

Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/expert-answers/stress/faq-20058233

Images- Freepik

 

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Stress
Stress is Causing You Harm and it’s Not Worth it