7 reasons you need to address your stress
‘I’m stressed’ is a phrase we all hear dozens of times a day. Whether it’s our friends, our siblings, our colleagues or a stranger at the bus stop uttering those words, stressed is how most of us feel at some point every day.
It might not seem like anything to worry about but prolonged stress can lead to both physical and mental health issues as well as put a certain amount of strain on our relationships. So try and take some time out this holiday season to tackle your stress head on before any lasting damage is done.
1 We spend half of our lives stressed
It may sound like an over-exaggeration but according to Neil Shah, founder and director of the Stress Management Society and author of The 10-Step Stress Solution, the average person spends 50 per cent of their day stressed and that can’t be good for our general well-being.
2 Once one thing stresses us out, everything does
Your phone battery dies stopping you from replying to that urgent email and preventing you from phoning your boyfriend to tell him you’re running late and all of a sudden you’re stressed. As soon as this initial stress sets in you’re on red alert and every little thing has the potential to worsen your mood. It starts to rain? You get more stressed. You can’t find your umbrella? More stressed still. You miss your train? That’s it, you’ve got a migraine and you have to go home.
3 Stress weakens your immune system
A small amount of stress is good for us – it gives us that kick we need to get up off the sofa and file that report or write that essay. But too much stress and we are at risk of opening our bodies up for infection. Allergies, migraines, digestive problems and colds are all often symptoms of prolonged stress.
4 Too much stress is making us fat
We’re 5lbs heavier this year than we were last year. Why? Because our hectic lifestyles are making us eat poorly. We’re all guilty of it – you finish work late because a meeting overran or someone let you down and you think, ooh it’s Tuesday I’ll stop by Dominoes on my way home, I deserve a treat. These ‘treats’ are becoming more regular fixes in our weeks rather than one-offs causing our waistlines to increase and our dress sizes to go up.
5 Prolonged stress can lead to anxiety and depression
Stress causes DNA changes in our blood which have been directly linked to alterations in brain tissue. These changes increase risk of anxiety disorders and depression. So something that’s become such a normal part of our everyday life that we just brush it aside, could potentially be doing a lot of damage to our long term mental well-being.
6 Your stress affects everyone around you too
When you’ve had a particularly stressful day at the office, it’s almost impossible to not take that stress home with you and take it out on the people around you. When you snap at your partner or housemates for no real reason you make your bad mood rub off on them and their stress levels increase. Not to mention making yourself feel a hundred times worse too.
7 When you’re stressed you just can’t concentrate
We’re often stressed because we don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything ticked off of our to-do list. But the annoying truth is the more stressed we are, the harder it is for us to concentrate and therefore the less we will get done. Which of course then makes us more stressed still – it’s a vicious circle.