Woman Doing Yoga

Good Habits For Your Good Health

Almost everyone finds stress annoying and unwanted in his or her lives, but not everyone knows how dangerous stress can be - especially when you have stress over a long period of time.

Stress is loosely defined as anything your body has to adapt to. Most people think of stress as a deadline at work or a fight with your spouse. But often stress is much more chronic. A mortgage for example is a long term low level stress or drinking soda pop, even occasionally.

In the example of soda pop, your body must adapt to all the sugar that you are loading it up with. It also has to neutralize the acid that is in the soda. These things are a very large nutritional stress on the body.

Stress and its adverse effects directly affect certain parts of our bodies. Stress begins in the brain. There is a sudden unexpected surge of "stress" hormones when you feel stressful emotions.

When these hormones are released, sleeping and resting are nearly impossible. Though being extremely energetic is good when one is working, the human body is not built for such a state for long periods of time. When the body experiences an increase in Cortisol (a stress hormone) sleep is not going to happen normally. (And this is an additional stress by itself)

If the stress is experienced too much, one will eventually experience headaches, mood swings, aggressiveness, and a loss of the ability to concentrate on a given task.

During this time, it becomes difficult to retain information and short-term memory can be affected. There is a common misconception that men are less susceptible to stress compared to women and this is been shown to be false.

Studies reveal that the difference between men and women is not stress susceptibility, but their way of dealing with stress. Too much stress also changes the function of the "hypothalamus" which is where the brain regulates emotion.

When we are stressed, the hormones that make us feel better (endorphins) are not well regulated. Thus, we lack energy to deal with problems and tasks, and we eventually feel unwell or “stressed”.

Every part of the human body is affected by stress. For example, when the lungs are affected by stress, one will more likely experience hyperventilation when he or she is under a lot of stress. It is a natural response for our body to demand more oxygen when it feels in danger. Think of “Fight or Flight” Either one will increase your demand for oxygen. Too much inhaling of oxygen will cause dizziness and pain on the chest.

When one is under stress, the adrenaline resulting from this state will dilate the eyes, thus improving one's vision. However, it also might cause eye ticks. Over time, your eyes become overused, over-stimulated, and fatigued.

Uncontrolled stress also dries out the mouth, and can lead to dehydration - something we all know is uncomfortable and unhealthy. Clenching jaws and grinding teeth are also normal mannerisms of people when they undergo stress.

At Arkansas Physical Health & Rehab, we have a great educational program on stress and stress handling. We often do “lunch and learns” while giving this program. With a Lunch and Learn we come to your place of work, bring lunch for you in your co-workers and really get down to the business of what you can do to handle the stress you are under.

If you want to be a Hero at Work, let us know and we would be happy to set up a lunch and learn with your H.R. department. Call us at 479-443-0800 and ask for Sonya or Shannon or sign up here.