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Cause and Effects of Negative Stress

Negative stress (distress) and stress-related anxiety affects everyone’s life in one way or another. Stress often occurs during very intense moments in a person’s life. Yet at other times, stress seems to appear out of nowhere for no reason at all. Stress and tension can arise when one feels extra pressure under certain circumstances, such as coping with death; preparing for meetings, flying; balancing multiple tasks at home, work, or both; training for athletic competitions; or dealing with danger or crisis.

Yet, no matter how much a person can try to avoid stress, the fact of the matter is that stress always seem to find its way into a one’s life.

Stress can affect a person in both positive and negative ways. If negative stress goes untreated, it can cause many psychological problems and diseases. However, if individuals know how to manage their stress, it can motivate them to set personal goals. It is important for a person to learn how to take control of the stressors in their life, by identifying circumstances that present the most of it and learning stress-reducing methods that best suit their lifestyle.

The Psychological Effects of Stress
Often, one may begin to experience stress after confronting a problem or living a traumatic experience. When a person fails to manage the stressors in their life, they open the door to endless psychological problems. Untreated stress can lead to anxiety attacks and panic attacks.

Anxiety attacks are an internal problem—it is a physiological, behavioral, and psychological reaction—causing a person to feel anxious about one or more things at a time. During an anxiety attack, it is difficult for a person to identify exactly what is wrong. Psychologically, they feel as though they are going crazy, losing control of reality, or dying. Physiologically, some symptoms include rapid heartbeat, muscle tension, queasiness, dry mouth, or sweating. Overall, anxiety causes a feeling of detachment between the mind and body.

Panic attacks are like anxiety attacks, with the exception that they can appear out of nowhere. One may seem fine one minute and in an instant they may begin to feel tightening in the chest, shortness of breath, choking sensations, dizziness, faintness, sweating, trembling, shaking, or tingling of the hands and feet. According to Dr. Edmund J. Bourne, “A panic attack is a sudden surge of mounting physiological arousal.” A panic attack may present itself when a person is dealing with a phobic situation. The fear of panic attacks may cause people, who have previously experienced one, to worry themselves into having another by merely thinking about it.

Apart from anxiety and panic attacks, stress can lead to depression, cancer, sleep disturbance, sexual and reproductive dysfunctions, and loss of memory.

The Possibilities of Stress-Related Heart Disease and Stroke
Chronic stress has a major impact on a person’s heart and blood pressure. If a person doesn’t take control of their daily stress, the accumulation of it can eventually kill them. Frequent stress can negatively affect the heart by causing the arteries to constrict, due to increases in the heart rate and pumping action. When a person experiences stress, they also increase their chances of forming blood clots and clogged arteries. In addition, cholesterol levels can rise in both men and women, while women also lose estrogen levels.

Not only do people run the risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke, they may also experience one or more of the following health issues: cancer, gastrointestinal problems, or diabetes. Stress can also increase susceptibility to infections due to low white blood cell counts during times of chronic stress.

Leading an Unhealthy Lifestyle Because of Stress
Caffeine, nicotine, stimulant drugs, salt, preservatives, hormones in meat, and sugar all seem to have an effect on a person’s stress. Other foods commonly associated with stress-related anxiety are highly seasoned foods, greasy or fried foods, chocolate, alcohol, and beverages that contain caffeine—coffee, tea, and soft drinks. People that eat on the run also contribute to their stress level. Eating in a hurry usually means people do not take the time to chew properly. People must chew 15-20 times per mouthful as not doing so will strain a person’s stomach. A person should partially predigest food in their mouth for a proper digestion to take place internally. Eating too much, to the point of causing a bloated sensation, and drinking too much fluid with a meal can also negatively affect the stomach and intestines.

Although Stress Is Unavoidable, Managing It Is Not
One must learn to manage or rid themselves of all negative stressors and focus on the positive aspects of life by maintaining positive self-talk or thoughts. Doing so will decrease the chances of distress.

Maintaining a healthy diet and maintaining physical wellness will also play an important role in stress management. Good nutrition, especially adequate calories and protein, helps maintain the body’s storage of nutrients, and provides energy, heals wounds, and fights infections.

In addition, incorporating relaxation techniques, such as listening to calming music or calming sounds; meditating; establishing or reinforcing a network of friends; and restructuring priorities will contribute to stress deduction. Taking a few minutes each day to focus on deep breathing helps reduce stress hormone levels, which helps to elevate a person’s mood and reduce anxiety.

Simply put, one must learn to identify issues causing negative stress. If one does not learn to manage their own stress, no one else will do it for them.

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