Coping with stress is part of everyday life. The past year has been increasingly stressful following the pandemic, making it even more important to find ways of effectively managing your chronic stress levels.

The stress response is a physical reaction to a stressor or stimuli where the body enters a state of heightened alertness. Often referred to as โ€˜fight or flightโ€™, the stress response is often thought to have been essential throughout evolution when there was a high frequency of threats in everyday life. In modern times, however, this stress response can be caused by daily stressors, inconveniences, and hassles. The medium to long term effect of the stress response can have negative implications for both psychological and physical health.

physical reaction

So what are the side effects of experiencing a chronic, prolonged level of stress and how can you reduce this level of stress?

The health implications of chronic stress

Chronic stress can cause a range of adverse health conditions, such as:

Hair loss – This can be a possible side effect of stress, usually after a particularly traumatic event.

Burnout SyndromeBurnout syndrome is a condition characterized by extreme physical and psychological fatigue, a depressive state, and significant changes to a mood. More on: ScienceDirect

Burnout Syndrome

Unintended weight changes – Both weight loss and weight gain can be triggered by persistent stress.

Mental health issues – Anxiety and depression can be caused by chronic stress, action is needed to help improve mental health.

Sexual dysfunction – High stress can cause erectile dysfunction in men due to an interruption of brain signals stimulating blood flow to erectile tissue. More on HealthLine.

The extent to which these may be experienced is subject to individual differences and the level of stress experienced.

5 ways to decrease stress and improve your health

ways to decrease stress and improve your health

  1. Lifestyle changes – The most direct approach to reducing your stress is to identify the triggers. These are often in plain sight and might be core elements of your day-to-day life. Commonly, a stressful job, home environment, or traumatic event, can cause significant stress which may need to be altered to have a positive effect. If these factors canโ€™t be changed very easily, then control what you can; such as, making sure you have enough sleep, have a healthy diet, and are getting plenty of exercise.
  2. Exercise-The therapeutic effects of exercise are extensive. In addition to a multitude of physical and psychological health benefits, it can also help reduce stress. Exercise causes the release of endorphins which have a positive effect on well-being, mood, and general health.
  3. Medication – Itโ€™s important to prioritize your health, especially when looking to treat certain side effects of chronic stress. Commonly sought-after prescription treatments can be purchased easily online. Itโ€™s essential to only purchase from a trusted source; Pharmica is the UKโ€™s most trusted online pharmacy.
  4. Yoga and Meditation – Often disregarded, Yoga and Meditation can be effective ways to reduce stress. Yoga involves self-awareness, stretching, and controlled body movements. Meditation is centered around mindfulness and taking a short while to relax and calm the mind.
  5. Counseling – If chronic stress becomes too severe or the previously suggested methods of reducing stress prove ineffective, counseling in the form of seeking specialist advice is recommended.
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