You may not even realize it, but you could be living with chronic stress and not know it. This type of stress is often called the “silent killer” because it can wreak havoc on your body without you realizing it. In this blog post, we will discuss the dangers of chronic stress and how to deal with it.
Defining Chronic Stress
Stress is a word we all hear on almost a daily basis. We hear and feel it when we’re juggling too many tasks, when we’re worried about an upcoming deadline, or when we’re dealing with a difficult situation. Stress is a normal part of life that can help us stay alert and motivated. However, when stress becomes chronic, it can have serious consequences for our health.
Chronic stress is defined as “a state of prolonged physiological arousal in response to psychological or social stressors.” In other words, it’s the body’s way of responding to long-term or constant stressors. While this may seem like a good thing (after all, the body is designed to protect us from danger), chronic stress can actually have a number of negative effects on our health.
While chronic stress in itself is a type of stress, there also exist further subtypes of chronic stress. The three main types are:
- Physical: This type of chronic stress is caused by physical factors such as a demanding job, an illness, or pain.
- Psychological: Psychological chronic stress is caused by psychological factors such as anxiety, depression, or trauma.
- Social: Social chronic stress is caused by social factors such as relationships, family, or finances.
All these types of chronic stress can have a negative impact on our health, but in this blog post, we will focus on the effects of psychological chronic stress.
How Is It Different From Other Types Of Stress?
Stress is a rather broad spectrum. It can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). It can also be internal or external. Internal stressors are things like our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. External stressors are things like our environment, the people around us, and our lifestyle choices.
Chronic stress is a type of stress that is long-term and usually caused by internal factors. It’s different from other types of stress because it doesn’t go away easily. Even if the stressful event or situation has passed, the effects of chronic stress can linger. This is because chronic stress changes the way our bodies respond to stressors, both psychological and physical.
Moreover, it is important to note that not all stress is bad. In fact, some stress can be good for us. Acute stress, for example, can help us perform better in challenging situations. It’s only when stress becomes chronic that it begins to take a toll on our health.
What Causes Chronic Stress?
Stress is a very common and dynamic emotion. We all experience it at some point or another. However, chronic stress is different from the normal, everyday stress we feel. So what causes it?
There are many factors that can contribute to chronic stress. Here are some of the most common:
- A demanding job
- An illness
- High levels of expectations/demands
These are just some of the factors that can cause stress. As you can see, many of them are psychological in nature. This is because our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs play a big role in how we deal with stress. If we’re constantly worrying about something, for example, it’s not surprising that we would eventually develop this condition.
How To Identify The Signs?
It is a very tricky and difficult task to identify the signs of chronic stress. This is because the symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. Some people may experience physical symptoms, while others may only experience psychological ones. Moreover, the symptoms of stress can also be similar to those of other conditions, such as anxiety or depression.
Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms:
- Changes in appetite/weight
- Anxiety or depression
- Never-ending worries
- Memory problem
- Muscle tension/pain
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis, it’s important to talk to a doctor or mental health professional. They will be able to help you diagnose and treat your condition.
What Are The Side Effects?
The causes and side effects can be overlapping and interconnected. It can be difficult to identify which is the chicken and which is the egg. However, some of the more common side effects are:
- Sleep problems
- Emotional dysregulation
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Digestive problems
- Memory and concentration problems
- Irritability or outbursts of anger
- Low productivity
If left unamanged, these can quickly translate into serious and possibly fatal conditions such as:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Anxiety disorders
- Autoimmune diseases
- Accelerated aging
It is important to find ways to manage your stress so that it does not reach these levels. This can look different for everyone. You can experiment with what suits the best for you.
How To Manage It?
Thankfully, there are various ways to manage chronic stress. Each of them has a different way of handling stress, so it’s important to find the one that works best for you.
Therapy is the foremost way to manage stress. A therapist can help you understand your triggers and work through the root of your stressors. Some of the most common therapies for stress include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Exposure therapy
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction
- Expressive art therapy
If your stressors are biological, medication may also be an option. Some common yet effective prescription medicines for stress include:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
- Tricyclic antidepressants
Of course, there are also many natural ways to manage stress. Some of the most popular include:
- Massage therapy
- Dietary changes
- Deep breathing exercises
- Progressive muscle relaxation
If you think you may be suffering from chronic stress, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. It can have serious consequences on your mental and physical health. Don’t let stress take over your life! Seek help today.
Chronic stress can be a silent killer. It’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of stress so that you can seek help if needed. There are various ways to manage chronic stress, so don’t hesitate to seek help if you think it can be of benefit.
If you or someone you know is looking for psychological help, Therapy Mantra is here for you. We are the leading providers of online therapy and counseling. Our team of highly trained and experienced therapists can provide assistance at the most affordable rates. Contact us today to learn more about our services. You may also visit our website to book an online therapy session or download our free Android or iOS app for more information.