Why a Focus on Mental Health and Wellbeing?
There is no denying that we all live stressful lives and you may feel there’s nothing you can do about that. Endless bills coming in, not enough hours in your day to get everything done. You may feel your life is full of responsibilities … too much work, too much study, too many conflicting responsibilities. Your life can feel too demanding.
However, it important to keep in mind though that not all stress is bad. All animals (including humans) have a stress response, which can be life-saving in some situations. The nerve chemicals and hormones released during such stressful times prepares us to face a flight or fright situation. When you face a dangerous situation, your pulse quickens, you breathe faster, your muscles tense, and your brain uses more oxygen and increases activity. All functions of your body are aimed at survival.
It can even boost the immune system in the short term.
Even so, chronic stress is not good for you. Those same nerve chemicals that are life-saving in short bursts can suppress functions which aren’t needed for immediate survival. Your immunity is reduced; your digestive, excretory and reproductive systems stop working properly.
Once the threat has passed, other body systems act to restore normal functioning but problems happen if the stress response goes on for too long. When the source of your stress remains constant or if the response continues after the danger has gone you are in trouble.
It’s important to remember that you can take control of your stress and reduce it.
The 3 Types of Stress!
There are at least three different types of stress, all of which pose physical and mental health risks:
1. Routine stress related to the pressures of work, family and other daily responsibilities.
2. Stress brought about by a sudden negative change, such as losing a job, divorce, or illness.
3. Traumatic stress, experienced in an event like a major accident, war, assault, or a natural disaster where one may be seriously hurt or in danger of being killed.
How Does Stress Affect Your Overall Health?
Your body will respond to each type of stress in similar ways. Different people may feel it in a variety of ways. For example, some people experience mainly digestive symptoms, while others may have headaches, sleeplessness, depressed mood, anger and irritability. People with chronic stress are susceptible to more frequent and severe viral infections, such as the flu or common cold. Vaccines, such as the flu shot, are less efficient for them.
As the source of stress tends to be more constant than in cases of acute or traumatic stress, your body gets no clear signal to return to normal functioning. Over time, continued strain on your body from routine stress can lead to serious health problems, like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, anxiety disorder, and other illnesses.
Let’s all work together to reduce the stress in our lives – staring with the stress on our roads!