Stress in the long run should not be underestimated, because stress has a negative effect on health. Find out what stress causes in the body (symptoms) and the consequences of long-term stress.
Why do we have stress?
Positive stress does us good. It makes us more attentive and spurs us on. Suddenly we can react as fast as lightning and create tasks faster than usual. It makes us happy and proud. This short-term stress has a rewarding effect.
Stress has been essential for human survival since prehistoric times. If our ancestors were confronted with a dangerous situation, they had to make a quick decision: Escape or fight? For a few seconds (or minutes) the adrenalin shot up and undreamt-of powers were mobilized. This enabled them to perform extraordinary feats. Once the situation was over, the body calmed down again. The stress was over and the recovery could begin.
While our ancestors could still get rid of their tension by motoric means, today we hardly manage to get rid of surplus stress mediators. We have little time for sufficient exercise, recovery and sleep.
This is why many people feel permanently stressed, overstrained and restless. However, our body is not programmed for permanent stress and lets us feel this.
What does stress do to the body? (Symptoms and consequences)
If the stress does not subside and keeps you permanently under control, this can lead to disorders of the autonomic system. Your balance of power is then completely disrupted. The permanent stress chronically increases your adrenalin level and cortisol is also continuously released. The result: fat cells are stored more quickly and the connective tissue becomes sticky.
Typical symptoms of stress are:
- heart palpitations, dizziness, breathing problems, tremors
- gastrointestinal illnesses
- painful tensions in the neck, head and back
- psychological impairments
What many don't know: There is also the so-called oxidative stress. It has a direct effect on your body. If the stress becomes too great and the number of free radicals caused by heat, cold, UV light, pollutants and environmental toxins, for example, is too high, it can cause permanent damage to your health.
Does everyone experience stress equally?
Every person reacts to stress with different sensitivities. While some people simply put up with a prolonged stressful situation or a one-off, extreme (possibly even traumatic) stress situation, others become ill. This is related to the individual stress tolerance, which is biologically anchored in us and is probably already shaped in the first years of life.
Our attitudes and expectations also play a major role. If you manage to adopt a positive and actively shaping way of thinking, you can reduce stress yourself.
People who feel socially well integrated can also reduce stressors. A solid and supportive environment of family, friends, neighbours or communities has a positive effect on stress reduction.
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Picture: istockphoto.com | Ridofranz