When was the last time you felt stressed? How did it make you feel? What makes you feel stressed? Why?
Not everyone experiences stress in the same way, which can make it difficult to clearly define. What may stress you out does not stress another person at all. Ask five different people to define stress and you’re likely to get five different answers.
One way to define stress is the brain’s response to any demand caused by a change. Of course, this change could be anything and not necessarily always a bad thing. In fact, the body’s stress response can be a good thing. Meet a lion, tiger, or bear in the woods and you’ll be glad that your body gives you an almost immediate surge of adrenaline which will help you escape.
Regardless, stress, especially long-term stress, is well documented to be destructive to your health. It has a powerful effect on your hormonal health and impacts practically every body system. Chronic stress can cause:
- adrenal fatigue
- digestive problems
- affect mental health
- weight gain
- sleep problems
A critical step in reducing stress is identifying it. It is not unusual for individuals who are consistently in stressful conditions to have trouble naming their stressors. This is because for some people stress and its symptoms have become normal for them. Once the negative effects of the stress become apparent, then people finally notice. This could be a significant change in weight, struggles with insomnia, or coming down with an unusually large number of colds throughout the year.
Once you can figure out what causes you stress, it can be easier to finds ways to reduce or eliminate it. A patient asked me how to “reduce or eliminate” their kids! They were joking of course! Ha!
So while it is okay for Mr. Stress to come knocking at your door from time to time, it’s not okay to invite him in and let him live with you long term. For some simple advice to relief stress and lift your mood you may want to read my other article that I have received positive feedback on, How Hormones Help You Find Your “Happy Place”.
If you have any questions or would like to set an appointment do not hesitate to call my office.
Dr. Shah, MD