Dangers of Stress: 16 Reactions That Impact Health

stressed man holding his head

Listening time: 5:15

Living in a state of constant worry can weaken our immune system, making us susceptible to a variety of physical illnesses. Recent studies also show that the dangers of stress can cause reactions that have a serious impact on our overall health including, affects to our mood, our feeling of health and well-being and our attitude and personality.

Long term constant worry can impact our bodies’ functions by the breakdown of cells and body tissue. Each of us as individuals have our own tolerance level for coping with tension. Some people may thrive on the energy that’s generated in high pressure environments. Most people however have a tipping point where the stress of a situation begins to take a toll on their overall health and sense of well-being. The dangers of stress and its impact on our health can vary widely from one person to the next. Understanding how stress impacts us and our individual stress tolerance for coping with anxiety in our lives is an important necessity for our happiness.

Often the situations that cause us to feel that we are in danger or cause us to become nervous, can trigger stress. Pressure-filled situations aren’t always negative events. Even happy, joyous occasions such as a wedding can impact our health, because while the event may be a joyous one, concern about coping with the many details can become highly stressful.

Stress is a natural response to coping with a situation that requires quick action or thinking. Stress can be good. It can help us manage difficult situations. But when we are in a state of anguish for a prolonged period of time or if an emotionally painful situation is severe enough, it can overwhelm us and can lead to physical illness. We typically react to worrisome circumstances by developing physical or emotional tension. The most common of these reactions are:

Common Reactions to Stress

dangers of stress

– Grief and shock
– Anxiety and irritability
– Fear of the future
– Confusion
– Feeling emotionless
– Loss of attentiveness
– Loss of interest in food
– Bad dreams
– Rage
– Self-medication
– Depression
– Feeling powerless
– Crying
– Insomnia
– Body aches and pains
– Inability to focus thoughts

Coping with Stress

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the following recommendations to help individuals cope with nervous tension.

couple holding handsMake sure that you spend time with loved ones after a traumatic event.

Find support and connect socially. Seek help from a partner, family member, friend, counselor, doctor, or clergy person. Having someone with a sympathetic, listening ear and sharing your problems and worries with someone who cares, really can lighten the burden.

Consider planning fun activities. After a tension-filled event, it is easy to isolate yourself. Make sure that you are spending time with loved ones, even if you are not discussing the circumstances of the stressful situation.

Psycho-social interventions have proven useful for treating stress-related disorders and may influence the course of chronic illnesses.

Stay active. You can take your mind off your problems with activities like helping a neighbor, volunteering in the community, and taking the dog on a long walk. These can be positive ways to cope with stressful feelings. Even a solitary project such as gardening can help to settle our nervous system and relieve the buildup of tension.

Avoid drugs and alcohol. They may seem to be a temporary fix to feel better, but in the long run drugs and alcohol can create more problems and add to your anxiety—instead of taking it away.

Take care of yourself.
Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
Exercise regularly
Get plenty of sleep
Give yourself a break if you feel frazzled
Maintain a normal routine

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