Traffic jams, deadlines and caffeine addictions – modern life can be very stressful. But rather than dealing with this stress, many people will suppress it until it rears it’s ugly head in the form of a complete breakdown.
Stress can contribute to depression, anxiety, and has adverse effects on many other functions and organs of the body. Stress levels can vary widely in identical situations, and for different reasons; it is a highly personalised phenomenon. One survey showed that in a work situation, having to complete paperwork was more stressful for many police officers than the dangers associated with pursuing criminals.
Furthermore, there is a huge cost associated with stress. Absenteeism, often caused by stress, is estimated to cost American companies $602, per worker, per year
Stress affects all aspects of your personal life – health, work, personal relationships. It can lead to smoking, drug abuse and obesity. It can consume your entire life if you don’t take action.
Stress is not necessarily all bad – it can occur in response to certain events that would usually be celebrated. For example, preparing for a holiday, going on a first date and getting a promotion are all happy occasions with a large stress component. Stress can also be the vital spur that motivates us to learn, improve, and mature. We need a certain amount of stress to remain interested in life and to face up challenges.
Stress can also help to bring out the best in people – helping an actor to perform really well, helping students to maintain a high level of concentration and helping us to avoid boredom.
The common theme here is that this ‘good stress’ is accompanied by a feeling of being in control. On the other hand, bad stress tends to arise from a sense of being overwhelmed by difficulties you feel powerless to overcome.
Scientists and doctors agree that this ‘bad’ stress can lead to illness, and that taking measures to reduce it will promote good health.
If you’re finding it hard to differentiate between your ‘good’ stress and your ‘bad’ stress, don’t fret – every individual is different, and we all have our own stress thresholds. What is important to remember is that anybody – men, women and children – can suffer from stress. Statistics show that approximately 43% of all adults suffer adverse effects from stress. Of all doctors’ visits, 75% to 90% are for stress-related ailments.
Listed below are a few effects that stress has on our body:
– Medically, it has been established that chronic symptoms of anxiety and stress can crumble our body’s immune system.
– New medical research has established that prenatal stress could significantly influence the development of the brain and organisation of behaviour in a foetus.
– Ageing is a natural and gradual process, except under extreme circumstances such as stress or grief. The constant stressors or stress conditions result in a loss of neural and hormonal balance, which will cause increased oxidative damage accelerating ageing in our body.
Chronic stress conditions can lead to ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
Beyond this, there are numerous other health problems that are linked to stress:
– Heart disease
– Immune response and deficiency
– Memory loss
Want to take control of your stress? Find out about our Stress Management Programme here.