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Stress: Symptoms, Causes And How To Find Help

Most people associate stress with bad things, but not all stress is bad.

In fact, stress can help us perform at a high level and even motivate us to achieve something. Stress in small doses is fine, it’s larger consistent stress that can cause health problems.

If you’re stressed out all the time, it’s taking a toll on your body and mind.

Fortunately for those of you that do suffer from consistent stress, there are solutions and we’ll begin discussing those below.

What Is Stress?

Defined, stress is your body’s response to any kind of demand, change, or threat.

When you sense danger, whether imagined or real, the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the fight-or-flight reaction or the “stress response.”

The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. Working properly helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life, giving you extra strength to defend yourself, for example, or spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident.

Stress can also help you rise to meet challenges. It keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration when attempting the game-winning free throw, or drives you to study for an exam when you’d rather be watching TV. But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, mood, productivity, relationships, and quality of life.

What Is Chronic Stress?

Your nervous system does a poor job of distinguishing between emotional and physical threats. This is why you can feel like you’re having a heart attack just because you and your significant other broke up.

If you’re extremely upset over an argument with a friend, a work deadline, or a mountain of bills, your body can react just as strongly as if you’re facing a true life-or-death situation. The more your emergency stress system is activated, the easier it becomes to trigger and the harder it becomes to shut it off.

If you tend to get stressed out frequently, as many of us do in today’s demanding world, your body may be in a heightened state of stress most of the time. And that can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can suppress your immune system, upset your digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up aging. It can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.

What Causes Stress?

Most of us feel we know where, when, and why stress is caused.

The pressures and scenarios that cause stress are known as stressors.

We commonly blame stressors on negative events or occurrences in our life, like your car breaking down or being in a bad relationship. Stress can be both negative and positive. For example, buying a new home or car, getting married, or having a baby can be both stressful and enjoyable.

How much stress you feel depends on your perception of stress itself. While someone may stress when their parents are visiting, others may not. What causes you stress may not cause stress in another. This is why stress management can be extremely helpful to you.

Typical things that cause stress are;

  1. Relationship Problems
  2. Major Changes In Life
  3. Financial Issues
  4. Working All The Time
  5. Children
  6. Chronic illnesses
  7. Hormone problems
  8. Nutritional deficiencies
  9. Food allergies

Stress Symptoms:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Depression
  3. Weight Issues
  4. Heart Problems
  5. Skin Conditions
  6. Digestive Issues
  7. Memory Problems
  8. Insomnia
  9. Irritability
  10. High blood pressure
  11. Attention problems

How To Control Your Stress?

There are some different ways you can control your stress.

  • Your Outlook On Life – If you view your life negatively, your life and thoughts become negative. Having a more positive outlook on life will help.
  • Support System – You need to try to surround yourself with people who will positively influence you. If you hang around negative people, you’ll become negative.  If you hang around positive people, their positive influence will help you reduce stress.
  • Emotions – You have to get better control over your emotions. If you learn to deal with your emotions in positive ways, it can help you avoid stress.
  • Exercise can help reduce stress levels
  • Diet -Eating a healthy diet and clean foods can help your body cope with stress.
  • Supplements –  supplements like phosphatidylserine that lower cortisol levels can help reduce stress. L-theanine, which boosts GABA levels, can produce relaxation too. Adaptogens help the body cope with stress by improving endurance, energy levels, focus, and stamina. 

About Author

Picture of  Ava Bell-Taylor, M.D

Ava Bell-Taylor, M.D

Ava Bell-Taylor, M.D., originally from Atlanta, Georgia, received her Bachelor of Science degree from Spelman College. She later received her medical degree from Morehouse School of Medicine. She completed her Family Practice training at Floyd Medical Center in Rome, Georgia and her psychiatry residency at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Bell-Taylor has extensive post-graduate medical training in Functional, Integrative, and Anti-Aging Medicine. She is certified in Functional Medicine. Ava Bell-Taylor, M.D. is a holistic doctor with a focus on functional and integrative medicine. Combining functional medicine with her knowledge of conventional medicine has enabled Dr. Bell-Taylor to help many patients suffering from depression, anxiety, insomnia, attention-deficient, dementia, and eating disorders. Dr. Bell-Taylor specializes in functional medicine with a special emphasis on how hormone disorders, environmental factors, lifestyle choices, and nutritional deficiencies contribute to brain dysfunction, like depression, attention deficiency, anxiety, insomnia, dementia, and other chronic medical illnesses. Dr. Ava Bell- Taylor is the co-author with her husband, Eldred B, Taylor, M.D, of two must-read books, Are Your Hormone Making You Sick? and The Stress Connection: How Adrenal Gland Dysfunction Effects Your Health.

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