Monitor Your Stress Levels
Meet your stressors and manage them with your own hands!
The Way of Stress
Your body is equipped with a stress-response system, also known as the fight-or-flight reaction. This system prompts your adrenal glands to release a surge of hormones called adrenaline and cortisol. In the event that a stressful situation arises, the hormone adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure, and boosts your energy supply, whilst, cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugar in your bloodstream, alters immune system response, and suppresses other bodily processes.
The stress-response system serves as a warning device for the body to control mood, motivation, and fear and to generate an immediate action to counter a stressful event. It is usually self-regulating. When the threat or the stressful situation has passed, the hormone levels normalize. As adrenaline and cortisol levels drop, your heart rate and blood pressure return to baseline levels, and other systems resume their regular activities.
When the natural stress-response goes wrong
It is a misconception that stress is a totally negative entity. It is not always disadvantageous. Stress pushes you to grow, to change, to fight, and to adapt. In fact, you need a regular dose of it to keep you motivated and to alert the systems in your body from time to time. It is only when this natural stress-response goes out of hand that it becomes harmful. The long-term activation of the stress-response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones disrupt almost all your body's processes and produce a myriad of health problems such as heart disease, sleep disorder, digestive problems, depression, obesity, memory impairment, and skin problems. This is why it is important that you understand your stressors and manage them.
Monitor Your Stress Levels
Stress tests can provide an accurate measurement of the levels of stress which your body can handle. One type is called a cardiac stress test. This is done by having the person walk on a treadmill while on ECG machine to record his heart pattern and by doing a repeated checking of the person's blood pressure to reveal his overall physical fitness. The other type of stress test is called a chemical stress test. It combines an intravenous medication with an imaging technique (isotope imaging or echocardiography) to evaluate one's stress levels. Instead of exercise, the medication is used to increase the heart load of the patient. Stress causes normal coronary arteries to dilate and blood flow in some blocked coronary arteries to reduce. These events are captured in the echocardiography.
Aside from these medical stress tests, you can also check your stress levels using the following warning signs:
1. Experiencing trouble sleeping because of muscle tension or because of mental struggle with negative thoughts
2. Using alcohol intake, smoking, or other vices as your main means of relaxation
3. Getting easily irritated and frustrated
4. Feeling less social than usual
5. Experiencing hair loss without any other physical factors
6. Suffering from gastrointestinal problems and constipation that usually get worse with stress
7. Having difficulty in focusing or concentrating
8. Feeling too tired for sex and experiencing decreased libido
9. Indulging in emotional eating
10. Experiencing tiredness and fatigue more than usual
11. Experiencing muscle tension in your neck, back, and jaw
12. Suffering from tension headaches
13. Losing your joy for work or feeling a sense of burn-out
It is a must that you keep an eye on your stress level as stress can cause severe health problems. Knowing how to manage your stress will guarantee a better day-to-day living. As the saying goes, each day is but a little life and a whole lifetime is but a single day repeated. Make sure that you don't spend your lifetime controlled by the big S!
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