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Stress: Your Health Hazard

Taiwanese model and actress Chiling Lin.
Jan 27, 07:26 pm

          For many of us over-achievers, stress is a way of life. Dating back to middle school, when an A- sent us home crying, we’ve been conditioned to meet deadlines, work till the wee hours, and come out on top. If we aren’t stressed, we aren’t working hard enough.

          While we pride ourselves on busy schedules and hectic work hours, chronic stress poses a threat to our health—oftentimes contributing to heart disease, weight gain, depression, and even pre-mature aging (fine lines, anyone?)

          Biologically-speaking, stress is a physical response to life-threatening situations. Our nervous system floods our bodies with stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, causing our hearts to beat faster, our muscles to tighten, our blood pressures to rise, our breathing to quicken and our focus to sharpen. This “fight-or-flight” mode increases our strength, speed, and reaction time to prepare our bodies for impending dangers.

          However, since our bodies don’t distinguish between physical and psychological threats, we put ourselves into emergency stress-mode around the clock. What we don’t stop and realize is that this kind of constant stress takes a serious toll on our health.

Here are 15 warning signs of chronic stress:

1. Memory problems.
2. Seeing only the negative.
3. Anxious or racing thoughts.
4. Moodiness.
5. Sense of loneliness and isolation.
6. Depression.
7. Change in eating habits.
8. Sleeping too much or too little.
9. Isolating yourself from friends and family.
10. Procrastinating.
11. Loss of sex drive.
12. Rapid heartbeat and chest pain.
13. Frequent illness.
14. Changes in bowel movements.
15. Unexplained aches and pains.

          If you’re known as a stress-case around the office, it’s time to take a step back, breathe and re-evaluate your habits and lifestyle. Stress management is ultimately about accepting the things you can’t change, having the strength to change the things you can, and having the wisdom to know the difference.



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