Why Should I Care About Stress?
"So what's the big deal about chronic stress anyway? Everyone is under stress these days! Besides, I am healthy so I can handle it – why worry?"
Is this what the little voice in your head is saying?
Or perhaps you think chronic stress is the necessary trade-off for a difficult job, demanding customers, or to build a thriving business? Well it certainly does not have to be so, but let's take a deeper look at how chronic stress affects us physically, mentally and emotionally. Then we can decide if stress is even worth worrying about in the first place.
As we discussed in article number one the stress effect is actually made up of a physical, mental, and emotional component, with the emotional part being a response to a situation or perceived event. In fact what we commonly call "the negative health effects of stress" is actually refers to our emotional response to a stress trigger.
For a person in normal good health, short term stress poses no real danger unless many short term stress soars occur back-to-back. This constant barrage of short-term stress has the same net effect as long-term chronic stress. In terms of risk factors for heart disease, neglected emotional stress is a stronger risk factor for heart disease than smoking, cholesterol, or hypertension!
Another complication of unrelenting stress is that it causes an exaggerated inflammatory response. As you may know, inflammation has a huge role in many diseases and dis-ease processes.
Stress will either cause or make worse 80% of all our disease burdens. So this means that of all the diseases and dis – eases we deal with, 80% are either caused by the ill – effects of stress, or an existing disease process is made worse by stress.
Another study reports that over 75% of all doctor visits directly or indirectly relate to the effects of stress. Just think of the repercussions of these numbers. If chronic stress were controlled or eliminated we could drastically reduce a great number of doctor office visits!
What does this mean in terms of real dollars? One study estimated cost to businesses from stress – related medical complications as $300 billion per year in increased health care costs including decreased productivity.
Stress also interferes with sleep which in turn affects a person's ability to lose weight. In fact, if stress is in the picture and a person is not sleeping, there are signals being sent to the body to increase abdominal fat and interfere with satiety. This lack of sleep then starts a whole hormonal cascade leading to weight gain.
By eventually deflating a person's outlook and motivation constant stress also impacts a person's well-being and positivity . Stress confuses a person's ability to focus, maintain overall energy, and ability to thrive and be happy. In fact depression, which is very closely related to unrelenting stress, was the fourth leading cause of disease burden in 1990; and estimated in one study to be the number one leading cause by 2020.
So obviously unrelenting
stress has a profound effect on all aspects of our health and well-being, and
to ignore stress while concentrating on other health goals is to ignore the big
elephant in the room. This is just a broad overview of how stress affects our
Next we will follow the domino-effect as we trace the path of events in our bodies caused by stress.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Please accept my gift to help you calm the stress starting now! Stress significantly affects the development, progression and recovery from a wide variety of diseases, and workplace stress may be as bad for the heart as smoking and high cholesterol! Why wait? It's free, complements Wellness Coach Connection, creator of the Burnout Breakthrough Program for Stress Management.