dangers of chronic stress

The Real Dangers of Chronic Stress and How to Reduce It

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Do you know the dangers of chronic stress?

Truth: chronic stress can kill you, or at least too much of it can.

If unchecked and un-managed, the constant exposure to stress can wreak havoc in all aspects of your life.

We all agree that being overloaded isn’t a good feeling in general.  But uncontrolled stress can also have ripple effects in your personal and professional lives, at work and at home.

Two real dangers of chronic stress:

  1. Immune System. Both chronic and acute stress can weaken your immune system, putting you more at risk for everyday illnesses.

Individuals who manage their stress well have fewer bouts with the common cold, allergies, and seasonal flu.dangers of chronic stress

  1. Other Health Risks. Exposure to stress, especially uncontrolled stress, takes a toll physiologically on your body.
    • Certain chemicals, such as dopamine, epinephrine, and other neurotransmitters are released during times of stress. You may experience higher blood pressure, increased heart rate, and other symptoms when you’re stressed.
    • High stress levels have been linked with many health challenges and illnesses. You are at a greater risk for strokes, heart attacks, headaches and migraines, and other cardiovascular diseases if you don’t have a system in place for dealing with and managing stress.
    • Cancer has even been linked with uncontrolled stress in some research studies.

What Would YOUR Life be like Without Chronic Stress?

By now, you should start to see some of the dangers of chronic stress.

Hopefully, you are starting to see why it’s important to examine the stressors in your daily life.  But you can’t stop there.

Once you identify the source(s) of your chronic stress you have to work towards eliminating some of the issues.

Have an effective stress management plan will make you feel better overall, in both your physical and mental health.

Here are just a few of the benefits of reducing chronic stress: 

  • More energy
  • Less physical pain,
  • Better and more quality of sleep because your mind won’t be preoccupied with stress.
  • Better concentration and focus
  • Calmer mood, and less irritability.

Without chronic stress you will also have lower rates of depression, less adjustment disorders, and fewer emotional and mental health issues.

The Simple Secret to Managing Your Stress – Put Yourself First!

Since you have read this far, you understand more about the dangers of chronic stress.

Some women feel that dealing with stress is part of their job, is that how you feel?

If you feel that you just “deal” with it, or that you work well under pressure, then you are doing more harm to yourself than good.

Many employers, institutions and organizations today recognize the dangers of chronic stress. They realize that it affects productivity and profitability.  That’s why they offer “wellness plans,” and team-building workshops as part of human resources

Do You Need A Personalized Plan?

There are all sorts of ways to get your stress under control.

But the best way for you to get your stress down is by designing a plan that is individually tailored to you and your schedule.

Simple stress-reducing practices to include in your customized stress management plan:

  1. Meditation and mindfulness. Meditation and mindfulness have a positive effect on our stress level and our ability to manage stress.
    • These practices involve setting aside at least five or ten minutes each day to spend in a quiet space, free of distractions. Try zentangling and watch your stress melt away. Zentangling (R) is an easy-to-learn method of pattern drawing that reduces stress while promoting creativity.   A  basic zentangle kit is all you need for meditation, relaxation, inspiration and…fun!
    • Paying attention to your body’s natural breathing patterns is an important part of these practices. Focus on your breath and alleviate your stress.
  2. Exercise is also a way to de-stress. The release of endorphins to your brain acts as a buffer against stress, and is almost like a natural antidepressant.

Whether you go for a daily walk (like I do) or take a trip to the gym, the physical activity is good for both your brain and body.

The most important part of any personalized stress management plan is establishing a routine.

Set aside a specific portion of your day, even if you have to schedule breaks in your work day.  That’s the best way to ensure that you’re giving yourself the time you need to de-stress.

For instance, I schedule my daily walk for 6 AM every day (except weekends).  I schedule lunch with my mom for 2 PM every day (including weekends). I schedule time with my best friend and for volunteer work every Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday!  But I also schedule alone time, and downtime for every Saturday 4pm!

If you take the dangers of chronic stress serious, you got to act, NOW!

You cannot get rid of stress by just reading about it.  If you don’t get your chronic stress under control, your physical, mental, and overall well-being WILL suffer.

Start reducing your chronic stress today with a regular routine of meditation, mindfulness, time with friends/family, alone time and exercise.

Soon, you’ll be singing the praises of your practices as you see your stress melt away and you enjoy greater health.

It’s easier than you think…once you are motivated, determined and disciplined!

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  1. Thank you so much for identifying, not only so many of the dangers and effects of chronic stress on our body, but also how to combat chronic stress. I know I have suffered through stress in silence before, and I know I am not alone.

    1. Darlene Berkel says:

      Danielle, you touch on a very important point, namely that many women suffer through chronic stress in silence, especially emotional stress. That’s one of the reasons I’ve created this safe online space where women can come and share tips and experiences to fight stress and live a life of harmony. There is strength in numbers. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Some people, men and women are addicted to stress even if they don’t realize it. The constant drama some folks have in their lives is like a one upmanship game they play without even realizing the damage they are doing to their bodies in such a toxic environment. I certainly don’t get it. You give some great tips and examples from your own life in setting boundaries and schedules!

    1. Darlene Berkel says:

      Thanks Haralee. You are so right. Some people are addicted to drama and the stress it striggers. Others are perfectionists which also create a toxic environment that breeds stress. Once I realized the harm chronic stress was doing to my life, I made a firm decision to get rid of it and build an simple, balanced, anti-stress lifestyle. It’s not always easy, and sometimes I fall off the bandwagon, but then I get back on quickly. Life it too short, and my motto is: I am too blessed to be stressed. 🙂

  3. I suffered from chronic stress several years ago and it almost killed me. My immune system couldn’t recover and I ended up in the ICU for several weeks. Bleeding ulcers and a diagnosis of RA had me completely bedridden needing multiple blood transfusions. It all started with a career-ending car wreck, my husband losing his job after 19 years, a kid in Afghanistan, a daughter and son getting married, my dog getting hit by a truck, and my mother being diagnosed with Alz all in one year! It was awful, but after the hospital, I managed to turn it around but it wasn’t easy and I’m still feeling the effects 8 years later. I’ve learned new ways of coping with my stress and health and life is back to normal even better than it was!

    1. Darlene Berkel says:

      Oh my goodness Rena!! What a wonderful story of triumph over stress! Thanks so much for sharing. Chronic stress will definitely damage our immune systems, allowing chronic diseases to get free reign in our body. And when it rains, it pours….you had a series of major stressors take place at the same time and one of the other. It knocked you down flat, and I am so glad that you managed to turn it around. Good for you! You story is an inspiration!

  4. I exercise, meditate/breath focusing, keep socially active and love my quiet, downtime. But It seems I’m plagued by constant overthinking…a kind of analysis paralysis that I over worry, analyze and then worry about worrying! Oh that I could stop the analysis paralysis! Overthinking is killing me! Thanks for these important reminders and helpful suggestions…I’ll keep working on it! Thanks so much for your daily mind, body, spirit posts, Darlene! They help me more than you know! Great info here!

  5. Darlene Berkel says:

    Excellent Joan. Those are all very healthy and beneficial ways to coping with stress and keeping it under control. Quiet time is non-negotiable for me too. Thanks so much for that positive feedback. Sometimes I wonder if I am making a difference, and it’s such a wonderful feeling to know that my posts, suggestions and reminders DO make a difference!

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