Please DO NOT DELETE this page.

Blog //
  • Wellbeing
//

The Impact of Stress

06 October, 2014

Although stress is a normal and necessary physiological response to stimuli, for too many Australians constantly functioning in high-stress mode has become an unfortunate way of life. This type of high-stressed living is not without consequences, be they physical, psychological or social. 

Lifestyle

Someone living a constantly keyed-up lifestyle doesn’t always look high-strung. Although an agitated stress response – someone who is overly emotional, moody and unable to sit still – is common, a withdrawn or depressed stress response can be equally as damaging. Someone responding to stress in this way will appear unenergetic, burnt out and with little emotion. A combination of both is even possible – this will be someone who appears outwardly ‘frozen’ but who is extremely agitated below the surface.

A chronic stress response can have a range of impacts on your lifestyle, and one of the dangers of stress is that it can make your system resigned to feeling stressed. It can sneak up without your noticing it, and before you know it you think that being constantly agitated is normal. Chronic stress can lead to changes in appetite, disturbed sleeping patterns, anxiety, memory problems, depression and social withdrawal.

Chronic disease

The stress response triggers the release of hormones cortisol and adrenalin, giving you the energy and concentration to function in response to stimuli. However, chronic stress means that the usual ebb and flow of cortisol in your body flattens out, so you can neither relax as effectively nor achieve an effective reaction to real stressors.

All of this together spells disaster for your immune system. Your immune cells respond to cortisol, and when cortisol is being constantly stimulated your immune cells stop responding, leaving you far more at risk of infections and illnesses. Chronic stress has also been associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and upper respiratory infections, among others.

Prevention and management

Luckily, stress is something that can be managed and alleviated. Regular exercise, for example, can not only help to relieve stress, but is also beneficial in preventing many of the chronic diseases associated with a high-stress lifestyle. Most people find relaxation, meditation or yoga as helpful for combatting stress, and it’s also important that you get enough sleep and enjoy a healthy, balanced diet. Things to avoid include tobacco and excessive caffeine and alcohol.

Learning how to take care of yourself and to control your reactions are key to both preventing and managing stress in your life. You can’t always control your circumstances, but what you can control is how you react to them. This can be one of the more challenging aspects to managing stress, as it requires you to reassess potentially damaging thought patterns you may already be in. Nonetheless, these are all key steps to overcoming harmful stress in your everyday life.

Suggested Articles

  • A woman doing exercise

    Osteoporosis action: How exercising for your bones works

    Osteoporosis is a common disease in Australia. However, with these simple exercises, you can help protect your bones as you get older.
    • Fitness
    20 May 2019
  • Woman with Luxottica brands eyewear

    More choice for members as OPSM joins the CBHS Choice Network

    Luxottica brands, OPSM and Laubman & Pank, are now available for our members with Extras cover to access as part of CBHS Choice Network. That means looking after your eye health and keeping your style on point is now even easier!
    • CBHS
    • Membership
    20 May 2019
  • A man with positive mental health

    What is positive mental health, and how can we foster it?

    Positive mental health allows you to enjoy all the activities you want to participate in. It doesn’t mean you will never be sad or go through emotionally-challenging times. However, those with positive mental health will be able to bounce back more easily from these experiences - this is called mental resilience.
    • Wellbeing
    20 May 2019
  • A man swimming to build cardiovascular strength

    Three tips for improving cardiovascular fitness

    A healthy heart should be one of your ultimate exercise goals. These tips will show you simple but effective ways to improve your cardiovascular fitness.
    • Fitness
    20 May 2019