Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. When you sense danger, whether it’s real or imagined, the body’s defences kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as “fight-or-flight” reaction, or the stress response. The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. In emergency situations, stress can save your life. It also helps you rise to meet challenges by helping you to perform under pressure and motivates you to do your best.
However, modern life is full of demands, deadlines, hassles and frustrations making stress so commonplace for many people that it has become a way of life. People’s mind and body pay the price causing major damage to your health, mood, productivity, relationships and quality of life. Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body.
Long-term stress can also rewire the brain leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety and depression. Health problems caused or exacerbated by stress include:- pain of any kind, heart disease, digestive problems, sleep problems, depression, obesity, autoimmune diseases and skin conditions such as eczema. Because of the widespread damage stress can cause, it is important to know your own limits and to recognise when your stress levels are out of control.
One’s ability to tolerate stress and to stay calm and collected under pressure depends on many factors, including the quality of relationships, general outlook on life, emotional intelligence and ability to relax. Counselling can help people examine their lives for stress and look for ways to minimise it and adopt healthier lifestyle habits.