Stress Effects & Stress Management Techniques

Calculating taxesThe effects of stress can cause damage to your mental, emotional and physical health.

Actually, the consequences of stress are the most common cause of disease, accounting for at least 75 to 90% of all doctors’ visits.

Whether you’re dealing with eustress, from positive events in your life, or hopeless long-term feelings of distress, the stress management techniques below will show you how to reduce stress effects to your health.

But to learn how to deal with stress, you must make some changes.

Whether you change your thoughts, the way you feel, your lifestyle, your circumstances or your reactions to circumstances, in order to reduce the negative effects of stress in your life, you must make changes.

The Eustress vs Distress Stress Effects

Some forms of stress, such as eustress, are healthy. For example, exercise is a beneficial eustress, providing positive stress consequences.

And in the face of danger, it’s your fight-or-flight stress reaction that causes an adrenaline rush that keeps you alert and helps you protect yourself.

But the eventual wear-and-tear on your immune system from prolonged distress plays a significant role in almost all illness and disease – both physical and psychological. Early stress consequences include:

•    Lethargy with diminished sex-drive,
•    Clenched jaw and grinding teeth,
•    Breathlessness or chest pain,
•    Weight gain or weight loss,
•    Headache or migraines,
•    High blood pressure,
•    Chronic tiredness,
•    Skin problems,
•    Indigestion,
•    Insomnia.

And when short-term stress turns into long-term distress, your immune system goes into a constant state of exhaustion. And the tired-all-the-time feeling you get is the first symptom of all degenerative diseases.

Negative stress consequences of long-term distress include:

•    Obesity,
•    Depression,
•    Type 2 diabetes,
•    More flu and viruses,
•    Heart disease and strokes,
•    And many other serious diseases.

Eustress, Distress & Stress Management Tips

Is there one single solution for stress consequences? No, but here are three temporary solutions for handling stress consequences.

•    Walk it off
•    Talk it out
•    Or let it go

But since lack of regular exercise, eating unhealthy food and persistent negative thinking about your circumstances are the most common ongoing causes, when it gets right down to long-term stress, you must make long-term lifestyle changes for effective distress management.

Actions necessary to reduce your negative stress consequences are:

•    Have more fun.
•    Eat for great health.
•    Increase physical activity.
•    Accentuate positive thoughts.
•    Be grateful for the good in your life.
•    Get plenty of rest, relaxation and sleep.
•    Reach out, get support and interact socially.
•    Use biofeedback or other relaxation techniques.
•    Make more time for personal interests and hobbies.
•    Let it go. What difference will it make 10 years from now?

You can also set more reasonable goals, stop over-committing, give up perfectionism and eliminate many unnecessary sources of stress.

The Bottom Line for Stress Management

These stress management techniques can definitely help you reduce the negative effects of stress in your life. Just remember to change what you can change, accept what you can’t, and learn to tell the difference.

More Commonsense Health for You:
How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
List of Healthy Foods for Healthy Eating
Permanent Weight Loss Strategies that Work
Health Benefits of Exercise and Weight Training

Resources:

Cohen S, Janicki-Deverts D, Miller GE. Journal of the American Medical Association. Psychological stress and disease. JAMA. 2007;298(14):1685-7.

How stress affects your health. American Psychological Association.

Ornish D, Scherwitz LW, Doody RS, Kesten D, McLanahan SM, et al. Journal of the American Medical Association. Effects of stress management training and dietary changes in treating ischemic heart disease. JAMA. 1983;249(1):54-9

Clark MM, Warren BA, Hagen PT, Johnson BD, Jenkins SM, et al. American Journal of Health Promotion. Stress level, health behaviors, and quality of life in employees joining a wellness center. Am J Health Promot. 2011;26(1):21-5.

Blumenthal JA, Sherwood A, Babyak MA, Watkins LL, Waugh R, et al. Journal of the American Medical Association. Effects of Exercise and Stress Management Training on Markers of Cardiovascular Risk in Patients With Ischemic Heart Disease. JAMA. 2005;293(13):1626-1634.

Maruthur NM1, Wang NY, Appel LJ. Circulation. Lifestyle interventions reduce coronary heart disease risk: results from the PREMIER Trial. Circulation. 2009;119(15):2026-31.

Torpy JM, Burke AE, Glass RM. Journal of the American Medical Association. Acute Emotional Stress and the Heart. JAMA. 2007;298(3):360.

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