Chronic Stress is a Silent Killer: Do Not Sweat the Small Stuff
On its face, stress is not always a bad thing. It is a crucial element for the body to release hormones that result in the “fight or flight response.”
When you are cornered, the stress hormones go into overdrive, which allows the body to produce adrenaline for you to either run away or fight back. Stress primes your system to make the appropriate response.
So, it is essential to make the distinction between stress and chronic stress.
What is Chronic Stress?
Stress in itself might not necessarily be negative. But the person who is continually exposed to the same triggers will hardly get relief. As a result, they will develop a chronic condition that can cause harm to the body.
You see, when you are stressed, the physical response is for your muscles to tense up (in preparation for flight or fight). Tensing the muscles will also guard your body against experiencing pain.
When the source of stress passes, however, the muscle tension is released. With chronic stress, this process does not happen. Your body is in a constant state of high alertness and guardedness.
Chronic stress has been linked to these deadly conditions:
- Lung ailments -- The other factor that may accelerate lung diseases is smoking. There are plenty of research studies that link stress with smoking. And the connection between cigarettes and lung diseases is well-established.
- Liver cirrhosis -- Similar to cigarettes, stress can push people to indulge in too much alcohol. As a result, they damage the liver. It can also lead to death.
- Heart disease -- The American Heart Association warned that stress increases risky behaviors. For instance, people are more likely to binge-eat and lack the energy to exercise. However, there is no evidence that directly links stress with heart diseases.
- Depression -- Chronic stress is a major contributing factor to depression and depression can lead to suicidal thoughts. There are research studies that link stress with suicide cases.
- Cancer -- The American Psychological Association said that stress could contribute to a person developing cancer.
However, cancer misdiagnosis is also a real issue. It can result in undue stress to the patient and may even worsen their conditions. With the incorrect diagnosis, the real problem is not addressed. A misdiagnosis can lead to a medical malpractice claim, according to Tinker law firm. Consult legal advice if you or a loved one is suffering because of the negligence of a medical professional.
Do Not Sweat the Small Stuff
Here are some quick tips to help you avoid stress:
- Develop a solution-based attitude rather than be stuck on finger-pointing.
- Have a positive outlook. It does not mean that you look at the world with rose-colored glasses, but you need to have faith that things can and will become better.
- Understand that everybody makes mistakes. It is the only way to learn.
- Focus on the goal.
- Forgive others and forgive yourself.
- Will it matter a year from now? If not, stressing is probably not worth it.
If you are the average person, you might have developed a routine from the time you wake up in the morning until you go to bed at night. You also have a set of expectations from your loved ones, colleagues at work, or even the fellow commuters on the train. Stress can be caused by the anger or irritability of those around you so you need to learn to pick your battles. One way to do that is to ignore the small stuff.
*This blog post was written by Cameron Fischer.