Forty-four percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects due to stress. Stress-related ailments and complaints cause 75-90% of all physician visits, and stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, liver issues, and suicide. Stress related issues are expensive and cost the American population $300 billion annually.
Stress is the body’s response to changes that create adverse or demanding circumstances. Not all stress is bad. Positive stress, also called, eustress, can help improve performance, focus our energy, motivate and excite us. Examples of this kind of positive personal stress are: starting a new job, having a child, moving or getting married. Negative stress, called distress, decreases our performance, causes anxiety and concern, feels unpleasant and can lead to mental and physical issues. Illness or injury, the death of a loved one or conflict in interpersonal relationships are some examples.
Stress is exhibited both internally and externally. Major life events, e.g. moving, job changes, family member deaths, or marriage issues cause external stress. Internal stresses come from within, and often individuals are not aware of the stress. Some internal stressors can be challenging of values/belief, faith, goals, and self-image. Even though some of these things are positive, they may cause feelings of doubt, regret, and fear of not living up to the person’s own expectations.
Stress results in several involuntary bodily reactions, including increased blood pressure, heart rate, metabolism, and blood flow to muscles—helping to react to high-pressure situations. Over time, constantly reacting to stress can cause insomnia, headaches, backaches, and irritable bowel syndrome. Chronic stress can make an individual more accident prone, lead to alcoholism, and tobacco or drug use. Emotionally, stress can seriously affect the way a person feels and thinks, possibly impairing judgment or causing depression.
Overcoming stress is a process that involves identifying stressors and taking action against them. Stress is often triggered by events, ideas, memories, and emotions. Some ways to counteract these triggers are to:
- Exercise – Regular workouts can help release pent-up frustrations. Just 30 minutes can go a long way in helping health and stress levels by taking the time to focus on oneself.
- Communicating – Friends and relatives are great sources for venting about issues and releasing emotions that cause stress. By opening lines of communication, it shows that you are not alone and that help is out there.
- Watching Diet and Habits – Consuming coffee or other caffeinated products, sugar, alcohol, nicotine, and drugs can often increase stress, making coping with stress harder. By paying attention to eating habits, can help stabilize moods.
- Laugh and have Fun – It is important to be around people, things or places that make you happy and laugh. Whether it be friends, watching a television show, listening to music, reading, or just being outside, make time for these things.
Research has found that people, who effectively manage stress, tend to consider life a challenge, have a mission or purpose to fulfill and do not feel victimized by temporary setbacks in life.
Always take the time daily to recharge so the stress does not build up and affect your health, now and in the future.
Danella employees and their family members, in need of someone to talk to, are encouraged to reach out to the company’s Employee Assistance Provider, Health Advocate or a Wellness Coach. Contact our Wellness Coordinator for more information