A taxing work week, an impending exam, tension in relationships, traffic, loud noises…!!
All these things are few of the causes of a modern day human’s biggest problem: STRESS.
Stress is basically an inbuilt mechanism in our body for a flight or fright situation. It is a reaction to a threat or a similar demanding situation. The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When on point, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert.
For example, it is the stress hormones that makes you hit the brakes at the nick of the time to avoid a car accident.
There is no denying the positive effects of stress. It can also help you rise to meet challenges. It’s what keeps you on your toes during an important day at work, to sharpen your concentration when you study for an exam instead of watching TV.
But like most things, beyond a certain point, stress starts causing major damage to your health, mood, productivity, relationships, and your quality of life.
You can protect yourself from such ill effects and improve how you think and feel by learning how to recognize the signs and symptoms of chronic stress and taking steps to reduce its harmful effects.
What happens in stressful situations?
The hypothalamus in the brain sends out a signal to the adrenal glands above the kidneys which leads to the secretion of adrenaline and stress hormone cortisol.
Liver produces more blood sugar after recognising the body’s need for energy.
Our fight or flight response is very useful during physical danger. You feel pumped and more equipped to counter the situation. However, during emotionally stressful times, there is hardly any outlet for the body to utilise this energy.
How does it affect?
Chronic stress due to strained relationships or overworking could alter the brain and change its function. It increases the activity level of the Amygdala – your brain’s emotional center and Hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for learning, deteriorates.
This could lead to more serious mental problems such as depression and even Alzheimer’s.
Ways to counter stress:
Make time to have fun and relax.
Cut down on caffeine, alcohol, energy drinks and sugar consumption.
Get quality sleep
Being Organised will help counter your stress. Try maintaining a checklist and keeping things in order.
A herb like Ashwagandha would also help in keeping cortisol levels in check. It’s classified as an adaptogen, as it’s clinically proven to help your body manage stress better.