So what is Stress and how do you recognise the different levels of stress
Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. Pressure turns into stress when you feel unable to cope. People have different ways of reacting to stress, so a situation that feels stressful to one person may be motivating to someone else.
Everyone experiences stress differently and it can affect your mental and physical health in many different ways. Stress that you can tolerate helps you to stay focused, energetic, and alert. But when stress becomes overwhelming, it can damage your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life.
Not just in your head.
Scientists have described how a stressed brain triggers rampant hormone release, which leads to imbalanced immunity and long-term physical wear and tear.
Excess stress hormones are released, including cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Your stress response becomes imbalanced; it's not shutting off.
Your immune system suffers as a result, and epigenetic changes are rapidly occurring. The stress is triggering systemic low-grade inflammation, and suddenly your blood pressure is up, your asthma is flaring, and you keep getting colds.
That cut on your leg just doesn't seem to want to heal, and your skin is a mess. You're having trouble sleeping and, on an emotional level, you feel like you're nearing burnout.
Stress is very much like a snowball rolling down a mountain, gaining momentum, gaining speed and growing until suddenly it crashes. That crash, unfortunately, is often at the expense of your health.
More effects on the physical body
Chronic stress and emotional stress can trigger a host of health problems. The problem occurs when fight or flight is triggered daily by excessive worrying and anxiety. The fight or flight response causes the body’s sympathetic nervous system to release stress hormones such as cortisol. These hormones can increase blood sugar levels and triglycerides ( blood fats) that can be used by the body for fuel. High levels of another stress hormone, adrenaline, have been shown to be directly toxic to cells of the brain and immune system. The hormones also cause physical reactions such as:
Difficulty swallowing, Dizziness, Dry mouth, Fast heartbeat, Fatigue, Headaches, Inability to concentrate, Irritability, Muscle aches, Muscle tension, Nausea, Nervous energy, Rapid breathing, Shortness of breath, Sweating, Trembling and twitching. One logical reason for this: studies have found that the more anxious and stressed people are, the more tense and constricted their muscles are, over time causing the muscles to become fatigued and inefficient.
People who have experienced trauma and suffer from Post Stress Disorder (PTSD) are often at a higher risk to develop chronic pain.
You can protect yourself by learning how to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress overload and taking steps to reduce its harmful effects.