The Unhealthy Side Effects of Stress and What You Can Do About It

Category: Health 776 0

Although everyone experiences stress in different ways and for different reasons, the one sure thing about stress is that it has unhealthy side effects on anyone suffering from it. If you find that you are continually stressed out to the point where it’s affecting the way you live, work and interact with others, it’s time to take a good, long look at what is causing that stress.

Stress: The Silent Killer

It would seem as though with all the technological advances which have been made in just the past few decades, life would be simpler and more stress-free than at any time in our human history. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and now stress is largely held as being the #1 Silent Killer.

In fact, left unchecked it is so unhealthy that medical science has found that it factors into the six main causes of death which include:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Lung ailments
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Accidents
  • Suicide

Furthermore, in an article published in the Miami Herald, the American Psychological Association was quoted as stating this as empirical fact. The article goes on to say that at least three-fourths of all visits to the doctor are the direct result of stress related complaints and ailments.

Common Causes of Work-Related Stress

Before being able to counteract the unhealthy side effects of stress, it’s important to take note of the most common causes of stress. These causes can be broken down into two distinct categories, the first being work related stressors. Common causes of stress on the job would include such things as:

  • Too many responsibilities
  • Heavy workloads
  • Poor management with unrealistic or unclear expectations
  • Long hours
  • Dangerous work conditions
  • Job insecurity
  • Harassment and/or discrimination

These are the causes listed on the WebMD website, but added to those, many people report that not being able to get along well with coworkers is also a huge factor leading to stress. Sometimes employers offer counseling through HR and other times you are left to find solutions on your own, perhaps through your family physician. In either case, it is vital to understand just what stress can do to you and those around you if you don’t find ways to effectively reduce or eliminate it before experiencing the unhealthy effects.

Common Causes of Stress in Your Home Life

It is interesting to note that the list of the underlying causes of stress on that very same WebMD website doesn’t include parenting. For many people, this is the number one cause of stress because kids can be a handful at the best of times. We worry about whether or not we can support them, keep a roof over their head, raise them into responsible adults and even be there for them during their formative years. This, then, leads us to the reasons why most people experience stress in their home lives. These are listed as being:

  • Death of a loved one
  • Loss of employment
  • Divorce
  • Getting engaged and married
  • Increased financial obligations
  • Moving to a new area or home
  • Illness in the family
  • Traumatic events such as violence, theft, rape, natural or manmade disasters

Perhaps if you were to look at the biggest stressor in life, it would be financial security. The world has only recently begun working its way out of the pandemic shutdown during the past year and is yet to fully recover. Great strides have been made, but there is still a great deal of worry over job security and global markets which, as we have seen, can suddenly come crashing down.

Finding Relief Sooner Rather Than Later

It doesn’t take much to understand that stress can profoundly have a negative affect on your health and wellbeing. As mentioned, it has been linked to each of the six leading causes of deaths in the United States. Knowing this, it isn’t a huge leap to know that something must be done sooner rather than later. Why wait, for example, to have that life-threatening heart attack to know that it’s time to reduce your levels of stress?

If you learn the warning signs of stress and act in a timely manner, many of the more serious consequences of prolonged stress can be mitigated, if not eliminated altogether. Start with an honest introspection into the underlying cause, or causes, of the stress you are now experiencing. Once you’ve identified them, you can go on to finding ways to deal with those stresses.

Whether you seek counseling, start planning better for the financial future of your family, simply decide to change jobs, or take time off to relax, the time to act is now. Keep that operative word in mind, “prolonged” and you will do well when trying to avoid serious consequences you know are bound to eventually impact on your life. The sooner you learn stress-relieving techniques, the easier it will be to avoid those unhealthy consequences.

You know what stress can lead to, so why suffer when help is out there? It’s up to you to find that help and, in the end, that’s the best thing you can do to ensure a happier and healthier quality of life.

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