Too often, stress is a synonym for a busy life. But while stress is often triggered by situations in life, feelings of anxiety happen as a reaction to stress. Does anxiety affect your life in any of these five ways?
Too much stress puts you in constant fight-or-flight mode. Cortisol levels are elevated and your immune system is lowered. Symptoms of stress include headaches, sleep problems, mood issues and stomach problems. While all stress is not bad, too much compromises health and can lead to problems with anxiety disorders.
Regular exercise, eating well and learning stress management techniques can help you mitigate the effects of stress on your health. Find an effective way to relax and use it when you feel stressed. Taking a few deep breaths or a short walk outside can help you to calm down immediately, sending good hormones throughout your body.
When you are under stress, your relationships may suffer. If I'm feeling stressed, I'm not as patient with my children as I'd like to be, and I don't show my husband enough love or kindness. Long-term stress over things like job security and finances can put a strain on relationships.
Both partners in a relationship need to be supportive and communicative, even during difficult times. Be willing to discuss issues and give support as needed. You might also need to make an effort to put your worries aside for a time as you maintain your relationships. Sometimes, I need to forget about a problem for a while so I can feel less stress and more love.
For some people, phobias and anxiety disorders make life very difficult. If you find yourself unable to complete normal daily activities due to stress or feelings of anxiousness, it's time to seek help from a doctor.
Most people have days when they'd just rather stay in bed. When life gets overwhelming, clear your schedule as much as possible and try to relax. If you have no option but to work and keep going, try to find a little happiness in every day. Choosing a mantra or inspirational thought to guide you may help.
When you're not getting enough sleep, it's hard to function. Sometimes stress and anxiety make sleeping difficult which then compromises your mood and health during the daytime. I've been the college student studying all night, the person working the late shift, the new mother with a baby who just won't sleep and the concerned parent whose mind won't turn off. The solution? Develop good sleep habits that you can follow most of the time, including learning to put anxious feelings to rest so you can get some rest.
My husband teases me that I can't relax if the house isn't picked up or something seems out of order. While I do have tendencies toward Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I've also learned to let things go so I can enjoy life. When stress and anxiety take all the fun out of living, you must make a change or find someone who can help you make a change.
Life is challenging, but it is also meant to be enjoyed. Happy people are healthy people who are able to help others be happy too. Unfortunately, anxiety and stress are part of life. But when your anxiety is manifesting itself in unhealthy ways like panic attacks, severe mood swings, depression or severe health issues, seek help from a doctor. Your well-being is important.
Amy M. Peterson, a former high school English teacher, currently lives in Oregon with her husband and four children. She spends her days writing, reading, exercising and trying to get her family to eat more vegetables.