Your health may be affected by stress, even though you may not realise it. It's common for us to place the blame on illness for things like insomnia, headaches or decreased productivity, but it could actually be stress that is the root cause.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were an estimated 13% or 2.4 million Australians aged 18 and over who reports having high or very high levels of psychological stress.
What is stress?
Your body releases stress hormones (cortisol, adrenalin and others) into your blood when you are under pressure and need to remain alert. This can have a positive effect if there is a valid reason for the stress, such as an upcoming deadline, which can make you feel more motivated to improve your performance.
However, the issue comes when you are experiencing high levels of stress for common 'every day' activities, such as socialising, going to work or planning for the future.
What are the symptoms of stress?
Stress can affect every aspect of you, from your body, to your thoughts and feelings. This pressure can change the way you behaviour and react to things, so it's important to be able to recognise the common symptoms of stress.
If left unchecked, stress can contribute to other health issues, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Stress on your body
Changes in your sex drive
Stress on your mood
Depression or sadness
A feeling of being overwhelmed
Difficulty in concentrating
Stress on your behaviour
Limited physical activity
Over or under eating
Drug or alcohol use
How can I manage stress?
Taking steps to manage your stress can have many health benefits. Here are a few ways you can help manage your stress.
Meditation and relaxation, even if this is just 20 minutes a day
Keeping a sense of humour and enjoyment
Regular and consistent exercise
Spending time with love ones and friends
Setting aside time for hobbies
Having set times to disconnect from technology and social media
Being active is a great way to manage your stress as it pumps up your endorphins and is a natural stress buster. It's also a lot more difficult to feel stressed when your body is exhausted.
Sleep and healthy diet are also key for all mental health issues and stress is no exception.