Let’s Talk About Stress!
Our physical reactions to stress are determined by our biological history and the need to respond to sudden dangers that threaten us. “Fight or flight” is a response to danger and our bodies respond by releasing adrenaline and cortisol.
Adrenaline – releases of adrenaline cause rapid changes to your blood flow and increase your breathing and heart rate, to defend (fight) or to run away (flight). Your body doesn’t distinguish between mental and physical stress, it responds to all types of stress as if they were a physical threat. You may be reacting to an argument but your body reacts as if you were facing a wolf. When the threat is gone, your body recovers. If the stress is emotional, the effects of adrenaline subside slower and you may always be tensed up and never relax. This very bad for both your physical and mental health.
Cortisol – this is the other stress hormone that is present in your body all the time, but levels increase in response to danger and stress. Short term, the effects are positive and can help you deal with an immediate crisis. However, long-term stress means that cortisol builds up and creates a number of stress-related health problems.
*Short term positive effects include: quick bursts of energy, decreased sensitivity to pain, increase in immunity, and heightened memory.
*Long term negative effects: imbalances in blood sugar, increase is storage of tummy fat, decreased bone density, decrease in muscle mass, high blood pressure, and less ability to think clearly.
Helpful Hints To Manage Stress…..
1. Be positive. Once you’ve finished a task, take a few moments and pause and relax.
2. Change of Scene. Take a short walk, even just around the block. Focus on your surroundings rather than thinking about your worries.
3. End the day in reflection. Reflect on your achievements rather than worrying about what still needs done.
4. Make time for your friends. Smiling and laughing with them will also produce hormones that can help you relax.
5. Be selfish! Do something for yourself that makes you happy. An activity that uses your brain in a different way than your everyday work can be a great release of stress.