Acute stress is the body’s physiological reaction to a new challenge or sudden unexpected occurrence. Events such as a near-miss automobile accident, an argument with a family member or a costly mistake at work can trigger the body to turn on the “flight or fight” response. Acute stress isn’t always caused by negative stress. It can occur when riding a roller coaster or having a person jump out at you in a haunted house. Isolated episodes of acute stress generally leave no lingering health effects. In fact, some level of stress might actually be healthy, as these stressful situations provide the body and brain ‘practice’ in developing the best response to stressful situations that may occur in the future.
If acute stress isn’t resolved and begins to increase or last for long periods of time, a condition known as chronic stress results. Chronic stress can be detrimental to health, as it can contribute to serious diseases or health risks such as heart disease, cancer, lung disease, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide.
Adrenal Glands and their Role:
Stress impacts the adrenal glands. Adrenal glands are responsible for one of the most important body functions: managing stress. When the adrenal glands are impacted by chronic emotional and/or physical stress, a condition known as adrenal fatigue sets in. The entire body is involved in the form of extreme exhaustion. It’s estimated that during their lifetimes, up to 80 percent of adults experience adrenal fatigue, yet it remains one of the most under-diagnosed illnesses in the United States.
The goal of stress management isn’t to rid yourself of it completely. Rather, the goal is to identify a person’s stressors — those things, events or people — that cause the most problems or demand the most energy, and find ways to overcome the negative stress those factors induce.
Tips for Managing Stress
If able to isolate your major stressors, you can work (by yourself, with friends, with family, with a professional counselor, or a combination of these) to create individual resolutions to each issue. Here are some ideas to consider as a means to reduce stress:
- Take charge of your schedule
Prioritize your daily, weekly, and other tasks. Delegate some tasks as appropriate. The more you are in control of your schedule, the less stress you will feel.
- Set limits on your commitments
Even though being involved in activities, such as volunteering or attending social events can be rewarding and fulfilling, heavy demands on your time may be more than you can handle without feeling stressed.
- Take a break
Mounting stress and pressure may begin to weigh down on your shoulders like a load of bricks. Before you let stress impair you, take a break. Feeling drained? Don’t reach for a cup of coffee or soda for energy. Instead, take a walk, go outside, get some fresh air.
- Don’t neglect your health
When deadlines are looming and you’re fighting to stay above water, it’s too easy to let health priorities fall by the wayside. Get regular sleep. Eat a balanced diet. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.
- Get regular exercise
An integral part of nurturing health is physical activity. Exercise can boost your feel-good endorphins, counteract the damage stress is doing to your body, and get your mind off what’s stressing you. Can’t squeeze in a full 30 minute exercise each day? Good news: Three separate ten-minute sessions are just as beneficial.
- Practice relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, stretching, visualization, and massage are all great ways to work out physical and mental effects of chronic stress.
- Seek professional help
Have a consultation with a licensed counselor/therapist to learn your options. Also, for more information on how we can help, please contact one of our wellness consultants at 281.298.6742. Source: Portions extracted from http://www.mayclinic.com & http://www.mercola.com