Just envision a precious little two year old child. Now imagine that same two two year old child poking your arm because she would like a cookie. You think to yourself, ‘it’s not so bad, she’ll stop soon,” or something like that. The poking goes on and on for days. Then weeks. Then years.
Ridiculous, isn’t it? Many of us would manage the sweet darling’s behavior immediately. Whether she got a cookie or a time out, I bet you would refuse to just tolerate her to keep poking you!
Stress, like the terrible twos, cannot be ignored. When you fail to take an active role in addressing your stress, the hormones secreted in tandem with the body’s reaction to stress never completely decline. While the actual link between stress and illness is still somewhat of a mystery, we can say with confidence that stress is a catalyst in many common illnesses.
What are the consequences of stress and its impact on physiology? The initial things you are likely to notice are the physical symptoms. You experience stomach aches, your shoulders are tight, or you experience more migraines. Perhaps you are tired regularly, have difficulty sleeping, your appetite changes, or you are just not as active as you used to be. You possibly suffer from unexplained aches.
Whether or not you are “marrying a mate or burying somebody” your body monitors any change as stress. The goal is really not to eliminate stress, but rather to develop coping strategies for stress management and handle the stress which is plainly part of life, and avoid unnecessary stressors like toxic relationships and unduly tense work environments. If you are having a difficult time with how to manage stress effectively or the easy way to reduce stress from your life, and you are already seeing the unhealthy emotional and physiological changes, it may be time to ask for help. Help might or might not be in the form of a licensed professional counselor, but learning how to overcome stress effectively is a critical part of a healthy and happy life.
Dr. Kate Walker Ph.D. Is owner and CEO of Achievebalance.org found in The Woodlands TX. The consequences of stress can diminish the quality of one’s life if not addressed, and here Dr. Walker supplies the need for basic coping strategies for stress.