Stress and its impact on our lives. 

What is stress? 

Stress is our eternal ally, but sometimes, especially nowadays, a disease of civilization. Stress as an emotion helps us to properly respond to stressful situations. When we feel under pressure or threat, or in a situation in which we cannot properly and rationally manage our own resources or the goods entrusted to us. The problems will increase as the situation worsens. It can be overload, financial problems, discrimination, mourning, pandemics and natural disasters. Each of us will understand our behavior differently and each of us reacts differently to stressful situations. The main responsibility here will be defense mechanisms and learned patterns in dealing with such situations. Stress will also be felt when we find ourselves under pressure from peers or colleagues, which creates stress in our close environment. 

Worrying about changes in life such as a wedding, funeral and other life situations such as moving, changing school or work, etc. Stress depends on our character or personality, eg; lack of control over the situation, manipulation or a sense of deprivation or exploitation by others, we are also talking about acquired traumas, which as a result changes our threshold of consciousness. 

When will the problem arise? 

Stress affects us as well, it motivates us and raises the bar, which leads to competition, which increases ambition, and it is a healthy response to stress because it helps us achieve a given goal in our personal or professional life. But prolonged stress is not positive and will lead to problems in our mental and physical health. Often ending in somatic diseases, which I will talk about in a later part. 

Stress appears in our body directly in the event of an emergency or with a given delay. Duration and responses vary from individual to individual, but not always the situation. Such delayed or premature stress will arise when we are waiting for a given decision. 

The problem also arises when it comes to chronic and prolonged stress or inappropriate response to stimuli and stress factors. Such situations include living in poverty, abuse and neglect, constant stress at work, racism, “bullying” often during the school period and many other aspects that may be apparent, such as another failure at checkers, often difficult to verify, such as bullying becoming mental or physical on a given person. 

A side effect of stress.

The side effects of living under chronic stress lead to general health deterioration, and there are many such scientific situations studied, some of which include: 

• Worsening of already existing health problems or developing their derivatives 

• problems with the respiratory and circulatory systems such as difficulty breathing, chest pain and high blood pressure, including panic attacks, which may be mistaken for a heart attack, and it cannot be ruled out. 

• Sweating and general fatigue, blurred vision or pain in the eyes, trouble sleeping, muscle aches and headaches. 

• Rashes or itchy skin and various allergies 

• Sudden weight gain or weight loss and other digestive problems including ulceration or irritation of the colon 

• Digestive disorders; indigestion or heartburn constipation or diarrhea 

• Changes in your period or menstrual cycle, nausea, dizziness or fainting. Pregnancy is also at risk due to elevated cortisol, which poses a risk to the fetus in the early stages of development, and does not exclude the link with postpartum depression. 

• Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is no stranger to this situation and leads to other mental disorders. 

• General irritability and a feeling of being overwhelmed by responsibilities and excessive responsibility which can lead to anger at others and to react aggressively to loved ones. 

• Fear and anxiety, excessive endless cycle of negative thoughts and general self-criticism. 

• Feeling down and unresolved will turn another negative cycle of worry. 

• Lack of interest in life, depression, worry, and an increased risk of crime in general, such as irrational behavior leading to bodily harm or a suicide attempt. 

• Inability to make the right decisions, shrouded in fear and uncertainty 

• Lack of concentration as well as constant worry and memory problems. 

• Picking in the ears, scratching, feeling a constant itching of the skin, dry mouth, grinding of the teeth or clenching of the jaws to relieve internal pain. 

• Problems with libido and interest in sex will also work to our advantage, which will prevent us from enjoying sex. 

• Disorders of eating and body image. 

• A tendency to take psychoactive substances for the purpose of relaxation

• General withdrawal from social and family life, resulting in a minor or greater state of depression. 

The list of such isolation side effects to stress is long and will continue to grow due to world conditions and other diseases of civilization. This list does not meant to scare anyone, but to keep us from ignoring the stress in our lives and to find moments for ourselves in the surrounding rushing world. 

When can stress get worse despite initial relief? 

The main problems are our habits and addictions. In order to cope with stress, it is possible to use drugs or alcohol. It can also affect your mental health and cause further stress. And only because these are temporary solutions and “drinking the problem” unfortunately does not help, because such a problem can swim. It often happens that despite the momentary relaxation during the “shopping frenzy”, we run into another problem, financial. Which has implications for taking overtime now and overworking yourself. 

How to work with stress to live a healthy life. 

I know that many life situations do not allow us to change and when we try to change, stress often increases and the feeling of fear can be unstoppable. But if we try to find support, starting with ourselves, showing compassion and trying to understand ourselves, how come we get so stressed. What he needs to get out or find a way out of a problem. Who and how can help me solve my problem. E.t.c. 

 Supporting family, relatives or finding therapy for ourselves, finding support centers or community organizations or groups that work with the problems we struggle with ourselves. Exercise, psychoeducation is available generally on the Internet today; you do not need to read a few volumes of work and thick books to help yourself. Often, by observing ourselves, we find many solutions. 

 As I mentioned, stress is an integral part of our lives, but improperly regulated stress can also lead to burnout, which I will write about in the next article. 

 If you are interested in a particular topic, please send an email and I will try to write about  it or create a webinar on the topic you are looking for. 

Published by Marcin Bogucki

Counselling & Psychotherapy for both English and Polish speakers.

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