What is Stress?

As you begin to read this post on stress, I want to know, are you currently stressed? Have you ever experienced stress? If so, was it mild stress or was it chronic stress? If you’ve never experienced stress, you’re one of the “lucky”  few. But, if you don’t know if you’ve ever experienced stress, please continue reading because I will share with you how to tell if you are stressed and if your stress is the good or bad version.

Oh, you didn’t know there was such a thing as good stress?

Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences. It triggers our fight or flight response in order to handle the stressor that’s in front of us. You breathe heavy, your pulse rate increases, your muscles tense up and you may even sweat a little or a lot. However, once the stressful experience (stressor) is over, your mind and body should go back to its normal state.

We all experience stress at some point in our life whether it be from the day to day responsibilities of running your household to things we are tasked with completing at work. Or, serious life events like an unexpected death of a loved one or friend or a diagnosis of a sickness. The good stress I mentioned earlier is what’s needed to help you avoid an accident, meet important deadlines for work and to help you focus while under pressure. Good stress is only temporary. A perfect example is child birth. The thought of all that pain during labor or having to be cut if you’ve had a c-section can be a lot to digest, so a little stress will help get your mind focused and prepare your body for the end result, delivering a beautiful, healthy baby.

Now, what makes stress bad or chronic is when it lingers after the event has occurred. This type of stress has major consequences on your mind and body. How do you know when you’re stressed out? You become easily irritated and moody. You lash out at others. You feel overwhelmed, unmotivated and unfocused. You’re forgetful and you find it difficult to concentrate. You are sleep deprived or you find yourself sleeping too much. Does any of these symptoms sound familiar? I’ve definitely felt a few of these. Prolonged stress causes high blood pressure, headaches, high blood sugar, infertility, a weakened immune system, irregular menstrual cycles, heartburn and a low sex-drive.

This is why it’s extremely important for your health and well-being to minimize stress. We can’t eliminate it but we can definitely control it. It starts with taking time for yourself – self-care. You should be eating a healthy and balanced diet, exercising, getting at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, minimize or eliminate the use of caffeine and alcohol. Oh goodness, I struggle with the caffeine. I love a good fountain coke. lol You may even have to learn to say NO to certain things and/or people who trigger stress in your life.

When you begin eliminating certain bad habits or things and people who don’t serve you, the better able you are to manage your stress level which, in turn, will allow you to experience more of the good stress and less of the bad stress.

1) Thumbnail & Header Photo - RawPixel
2) Healthline.com – Everything You Need to Know About Stress
3) Healthline.com – The Effects of Stress on Your Body



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