Stress. We all feel it. Whether it’s feelings of nervousness before a big meeting, anticipation of a family dinner, or frustration as you’re late and stuck in traffic, we can all relate to situational stressors. Your palms may start to sweat, your heart might start pounding harder, and your breathing might pick up pace.
This survival mechanism may manifest differently from person to person, but the long and short term effects of chronic stress can be detrimental. That’s why it is so important to understand the function of stress, and tips for managing it.
What is stress?
According to the American Psychological Association, the definition of stress is as follows: the physiological or psychological response to internal or external stressors
Well then what are stressors? Per the same source, stressors can be defined as: any event, force, or condition that results in physical or emotional stress.
To put together a full list of examples of stressors would be an arduous task, and one that would prove to be unfruitful, as just about anything can cause stress. However, some common examples include: death of a loved one, financial troubles, work obligations, or moving to a new city.
Why do we feel it?
Throughout life, whether directly or indirectly, you will experience stress. Think of the stress response like a built-in alarm system. Historically, it has been a useful tool for potentially threatening situations. As we have evolved, however, our bodies have not made the distinction between the sort of situation that would call for a “fight or flight” response, like being attacked by a mountain lion, and something seemingly more trivial like forgetting to get an ingredient at the grocery store.
No matter the situation, our bodies react.
Effects of stress
There is no system or part of the body that isn’t affected by stress. Whether you notice it or not, the stress hormones that are released manifest in different ways throughout the body, and may result in both physical and mental health issues. None of our bodies’ systems remain untouched by the effects of stress.
The musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous, and reproductive systems all feel the weight of stress, albeit in different ways. It is important to note that even if you do not physically notice effects in one particular area, it may still be manifesting in ways that are not beneficial to your overall health and wellness. These include:
If you want to gain insight into how stress is impacting your health, contact Hoag Executive Health today! Our executive physicals are the answer for those who desire a more in-depth analysis for their current condition/s and expert guidance to achieving individual health and wellness goals.