We have all experienced the stress response, sometimes it can be a good motivating force, such as an impending deadline helps to ensure that an employee completes their task on time. When it comes to unmanaged stress, it is often a tolling force which can manifest as physical and emotional symptoms. Being in a heightened state can even raise cortisol levels during stress.
The stress response is a natural, physical, and psychological reaction to stressors. stressors are anything that disrupts homeostasis, the body’s equilibrium. When the body experiences a stressor, it triggers the stress response, which is also known as the fight-or-flight response. This stress response is a survival mechanism that has evolved over time. It is a complex process that involves many different systems of the body, including the nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system. The stress response helps us to respond quickly and effectively to danger. However, when the stress response is constantly triggered, it can have negative effects on our physical and mental health.
What is cortisol?
Cortisol is often referred to as the “stress hormone.” It’s a hormone that’s released in response to stress, and it has numerous effects on the body. For one, cortisol can increase blood sugar levels, which can provide a quick burst of energy. cortisol can also help to reduce inflammation, and it can even affect memory and learning. However, cortisol can also have negative effects on the body. In high levels, cortisol can suppress the immune system, and it can even lead to weight gain. Therefore, it’s important to keep cortisol levels in check. When cortisol levels are too high, it’s best to find ways to reduce unmanaged stress. This might include exercise, relaxation techniques, or even just getting enough sleep.
What happens to by body during a stress response?
Do you remember the angst before a big interview or waiting to meet a new date? That feeling of uneasiness, sweaty hands, muscle tension, increased cortisol, and pounding heart rate is your body’s reaction to stress. Your body has evolved over time to develop protective measures. For instance, we were once vulnerable to be attacked by predators. The human body would produce the above-mentioned symptoms in response to stress exposure order to make it easier to get away.
Basically, your body responds to stress by delivering and releasing different hormones. All these hormone make your cerebrum more alarm, cause your muscles to tense, and expand your heartbeat. For the time being, these responses are acceptable on the grounds that they can help you handle the circumstance causing pressure. This is your body’s method of securing itself.
Suddenly the target (or you) are hyper focused, experience an energy or restlessness, are breathing faster to make it easier to escape the impending threat. Today, we don’t have predators scaling the office, but our bodies still process the same reactions in response to stress. Prolonged and repeated stress even in small doses can be hazardous for your health and cause complications.[/.
Does short term stress response affect me?
The simple answer is yes, repeated small exposures can have an impact as stress effects cortisol levels. For example, if you experience stomach aches due to altered gastric regulation secondary to stress this can lead to something called a stress ulcer. Perhaps one of the most dangerous and immediate consequences of stress is uncontrolled anger outbursts. This may inadvertently lead to increased blood pressure, heart attack, arrythmias, or other cardiac events especially in populations with underlying heart disease.
How does long term stress affect me?
The longer the body experiences a stress response the greater impact is placed on your overall emotional and physical health. Common symptoms of chronic unmanaged stress exposure include inability to focus, increased cortisol levels during stress, inability to get restful sleep, feeling tired, irritability, emergence of depressive symptoms, exacerbation of underlying disorders, migraines or headaches, and metabolic syndrome secondary to weight gain if overeating or poor eating habits are used to cope with stress. Emotional disorders secondary to stress include increased depression, feelings of dysregulation, engagement in substance abuse, increased tobacco use, feelings of isolation, and others.
How can I reduce my stress?
- First, we have to take a moment to evaluate your situation and identify the reason you are experiencing a stress response. Be sure to monitor your state of mind throughout the day. Keep a journal to write down what you are thinking about and when you are starting to have feelings of increased stress. Once you can isolate the triggers or can identify the main source of stress you can make a plan to help alleviate the stress response.
- Secondarily look at the exertion on yourself, are you giving yourself realistic expectations? Are you asking for help when you need it or assigning tasks to others? Let’s take a look at priorities. You’ll have to evaluate what is and what is not essential to you in a specific time frame, next you’ll need to eliminate or downsize your lowest priorities.
- Take a look at your relationships, are they healthy and bring more positivity than negativity? Are you connecting with your friends and family often enough and asking for help if you need it? It has been demonstrated that hostility with relationships can cause an increase in stress sensitive hormones.
- Take a breath before you react. Do you often regret saying or doing something in the heat of anger? Try this exercise, next time you feel the anger coming on; remove yourself from the situation, take at least 15 deep breaths or do a breath exercise, consider what a reasonable solution for all parties involved would be, then revisit the situation at another time.
- Get enough sleep, exercise, and eat better. We have to remember to treat our bodies well and avoid excess stress and raising cortisol levels during stress. Restful sleep is the foundation to the rest of your day. If possible, ensure that you are exploring treatment options for sleep. Alternatively, a good first step is to engage in Sleep hygienewhich is a collection of practices which promote better sleep, such as removing blue light devices and adhering to a schedule. Exercise has been shown to be an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression and a good approach to start if concerned about starting medication. Lastly, we are what we eat essentially, ensure you are not eating excess fats or sugars. Excess fats and sugars can increase inflammation markers in the body increasing risk of other diseases in the future such as cardiac disease and diabetes.
- Seek some kind of treatment. Speak to a licensed mental health professional to evaluate your symptoms and provide you with a treatment plan. Typically, counseling is considered first to help engage in a planned approach to decrease unmanaged stress from a behavior or thought modification approach.
Medication Management & Counseling
New Age Psychiatry offers licensed and certified psychiatric services through virtual telehealth appointments within the state of Florida. We understand the complexities that come with mental health disorders and unmanaged stress, and we will work hard to help you manage your condition.
New Age Psychiatry is a modern mental health service in Florida that approaches addiction and other mental health issues with compassion and forward-thinking techniques. New Age Psychiatry offers certified psychiatric services through telehealth appointments in Florida. Some of the highlights of the New Age Psychiatry approach include:
- Online Screening – We will begin with certified online screening to provide an overview of psychiatric care. We also offer a personalized, specific diagnosis through our psychiatric Telehealth services.
- Diagnosis, Recovery, & Treatment – Our full range of comprehensive psychiatric telehealth services can aid in treating a multitude of psychiatric illnesses and assist in the recovery process in alcoholism.
- Telehealth Services – Our psychiatric telehealth services are available throughout the state of Florida and can assist you in psychiatric care through counseling and medication management