If we feel unequipped or powerless to manage our circumstances, we experience stress. People and situations that leave us feeling angry, anxious or fearful trigger stress. Other common stressors include financial worries, troubled relationships or feeling pressed for time.
In small doses, stress can be positive, according to the experts. If stress motivates us and energizes us, this can be positive however chronic stress can have the opposite effect. When stress hormones such as cortisol flood the body, your heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels all increase. Stress has been linked to depression, chronic pain, acne, trouble sleeping and a weakened immune system.
Women are more likely than men to report high stress levels, although both sexes experience stress at equal levels. This can translate to more headaches, stomach distress and intense emotions.
Other signs of unhealthy stress include: overeating or loss of appetite, forgetfulness, lack of focus and trouble getting things done, feeling easily irritated or tearful, tiredness and general aches and pains.
If stress is disrupting your life, take action. Talk with your health care provider about positive coping tips to restore calm to your days and peace to your mind.
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