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May 6, 2020


In today’s fast-paced world, chronic stress is very common, but your mind and body pay an excessive price. Learn to recognize chronic stress and what you can do to reduce its harmful effects.


What is Stress?

When your body feels any kind of demand or threat then it responds accordingly and the response of the body is referred to stress. When you sense danger—whether it’s actual or imagined—the body’s defences kick into high equipment in a rapid, computerized process referred to as the “fight-or-flight” response or the “stress response.” 

The stress response is the way of the body to protect you. When it runs properly, it enables you to stay focused, energetic, and alert. In a difficult situation, it gives you extra strength to defend yourself and in this way, it can save your life. It also can assist you upward push to meet challenges. 

It’s what continues you on your feet during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration while you’re trying the game or drives you to study for an exam when you’d rather be watching TV. 

But beyond a certain point, stress is no more useful. It starts causing major harm in your health, mood, productivity, relationships, and your quality of life. If you frequently find yourself feeling frazzled and overwhelmed, it’s time to try and do something to bring out your nervous system again on track. 

You can shield your self—and enhance how you observed and feel—by learning how to recognise the signs and symptoms of chronic stress and taking steps to lessen its dangerous effects.

Why does stress happen?

When you're under mental, physical or emotional stress if your sympathetic nervous system sends a signal to your hypothalamus which is located in the brain. This then releases a hormone known as a chorus of releasing hormone also for it to as a CRH. 

CRH then activates the pituitary gland to release another hormone known as adrenocorticotropic hormone also known as the ACTH. ACTH then stimulates the adrenal cortex to release cortisol. Cortisol is actually the major hormone release response to prolonged periods of stress.
It increases blood sugar levels and increases blood pressure. At the same time neurons in the hypothalamus signal the medulla to release epinephrine and norepinephrine.

The long-term effects of stress


Stress has many effects on the body. It affects the heart, the lungs, the digestive tract, the heart, the skin and the liver.

Effect of stress on the Heart

The long-term effects on the heart are that it can actually lead to an increase in heart rate and an increase in blood pressure. It also causes an increase in blood cholesterol levels which can build up on the walls. It can lead to blood clots thus restricting blood flow to the heart.
Not to mention, chronic stress has actually been linked to heart disease like heart attacks and heart failure. According to review conduct in 2012, chronic stress from work and in private life is associated with a 40 to 50% increase in the kinds of coronary heart disease.

Effect of stress on the Lungs

The respiratory system responds to stress for speeding up breathing. When the body starts rapidly breathing, hyperventilation which is abnormally rapid breathing may occur. 

It can cause panic attacks in some people. Too much stress can thus trigger an asthma attack. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, asthma causes almost 2 million emergency room visits each year. 

In the long run, it can also lead to other chronic lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease also known as COPD. This is a type of obstructive lung disease which is characterized by long term poor airflow.

Effect of stress on the Digestive tract

If your life is stressful, it can be difficult to read a healthy lifestyle. evidence from longitudinal studies actually suggests that chronic life stress may be linked to overeating. when you're under high levels of stress, the stress hormone cortisol becomes stimulated. 

So instead of being physically active to release stress, you may respond by overeating and eating unhealthy energy-dense foods which can lead to weight gain and obesity. According to Statistics of Canada, 20.2% Canadians 18 and older are reported to be obese.

Effect of stress on the Skin

Toxin stress can increase your vest - getting skin diseases such as eczema or psoriasis. These are marked by red itchy and scaly patches. So high levels of stress especially if they are prolonged can cause these conditions to flare up. 

According to a global report conducted by the World Health Organization on psoriasis, at least 100 million people worldwide have psoriasis, making it a serious global problem.

Effect of stress on the Liver

Under stress, if your stress hormones kick in, raising your blood sugar levels and normally unused blood sugar is reabsorbed by the body. However, if you're under chronic stress your body may not be able to keep up with all the extra glucose. therefore increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Signs and symptoms

Some stress can actually be a good thing. It can actually help us stay focused. However, if you're constantly under it for long periods of time, you may be experiencing chronic stress which has many negative effects on the body. The common signs and symptoms of excessive stress are...

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Memory related problems
  • Poor concentration
  • Poor judgment
  • Being pessimistic and seeing only the negative
  • Racing thoughts
  • Increased sweating

Emotional symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritation, anger, hostility
  • Mood swings and Frustration
  • Loneliness
  • Compulsive behaviour

Physical symptoms:

  • Muscular aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Chest pains
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Frequent colds or flu
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure

Behavioural symptoms:

  • Eating more or less
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
  • Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)

Techniques to reduce stress

Social support

You have family, friends, teachers and social support to help you to eliminate these stressors. It lessens your depression, lessens the occurrence of heart disease, greater academic performance.



Learn to laugh, increase your endorphins in your body, laughing increases it, exercises increase the endorphins. Your body naturally has those to help you eliminate stress and endorphins.

Time management


Set long-term and short-term goals. You've learned these skills and you've applied these skills so use it. Time management is something that will eliminate stress. 

If you set things aside, if you know where you're going next, what you need to get done, it will eliminate major stressors in your life. You need to prioritize. Sometimes you feel like your list is just too long to even handle. You need to go prioritize what really needs to be done and what can wait for the next day. 

Prioritize is huge as well and then identify those time wasters that are going to be part of your prioritizing. Identify, what really needs to be done and what doesn't need to be done.

Alter or Eliminate

Change the situation creating this stressor. For example, some of you may drive some of you may not but if you know that there's traffic in one area that can cause stress on a commute. It can make you late, it can make you just stressed. In general, change the route and try something new. To alter or eliminate that stressor in your life.

Change your perception


Take time to breathe, take time to really enjoy what's going on around you and change that perspective. Don't exaggerate the situation. 

Sometimes when we are in the situation, it can seem like it's so big and that we will not achieve. Take it one step at a time. Step back, take a deep breath and identify what you can do now.



You need time to relax. Do yoga, great exercise as well as releasing those endorphins, meditation, you have hobbies that can get into positive imagery, progressive muscle relaxation. Your body and mind need a relaxing time. 

You need time to relax for your health. If you're not getting time to relax, reevaluate and fix it. Because it is a health issue if you're not causing your body to relax.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle


To release stress, take a balanced diet and nutrition, do regular exercise, get plenty of sleep and rest. Make sure your body is getting proper rest that will eliminate stressors in your life and make you feel better physically, mentally and you'll be able to perform better in your life

Get outside help and support


If you are feeling stressed out by work or school, then go out of your way to help someone in need. Sometimes, it will take a good deed for you to feel good about yourself and reduce the tension that you have. Sign up at a homeless shelter and aid the needy to help reduce stress.



A great tip that can help you feel less stressed is to try and visualize calm in your mind. An example of calm would be a feather slowly falling down or a lake that's barely moving. Visualizing images such as this can help you keep your stress in check.


Chronic stress is bad for your overall health. You may not be able to avoid the stressful situation at work, at home and everywhere in between but the good news is you can easily reduce its effect. 

So for experiencing ongoing stress, you owe it to yourself to find healthier ways to relax, de-stress and to seek help.


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