We all deal with stress in our lives, and everyone handles it differently. Some people seem to handle it well, but they may be suffering from health problems that are a direct result of stress.
Social media and media outlets are telling us about more bad news every single day, and that means we are all experiencing higher levels of stress.
This could be causing everyone’s health to decline. The more stressful things we learn about, the worse our health gets.
Susanne Babbel, a psychotherapist, explained how stress works:
“Every time we experience or hear about a traumatic event, we go into stress mode. We might go numb or have an overactive fear response to the perceived threat. Our physiology is triggered to release stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.”
“Over time, when we experience this process, again and again, our adrenal glands can become fatigued. Adrenal fatigue can lead to being tired in the morning, lack of restful sleep, anxiety, and depression, as well as a multitude of other symptoms.”
Some stress is OK and can actually be good for your health, but it all depends on how you cope with it.
There are ways to handle stress in a healthy way. Since we are constantly being exposed to it, it’s a good idea to learn how to handle it properly.
“One way of coping to this continual exposure is not getting overloaded with the news and pacing yourself with your consumption. Everyone has a different limit, and you have to find out what your limit is.”
Studies have found that chronic stress can cause several health problems, such as headaches, muscle tension or pain, stomach problems, anxiety, and sleep issues.
That’s why it’s important to tune out of social media and the news and take a break. Babbel continued:
“What is important is to pay attention to when you are overloaded when you start to get stressed, when you feel numb and moody or irritated or feel other outward symptoms of a nervous system response. Whenever you feel like you’re ‘off,’ that is a signal. That is your signal that you need to stop.
“The nervous system hijacks the logical brain. Once you are triggered by a traumatic event or hearing about trauma, people will often say, ‘Just get over it.’ You can’t, because you don’t have logic. All you can do is soothe your nervous system using the language it understands: sensation.”
There are a lot of ways to deal with stress and to help calm down the nervous system.
For example, using any of the muscles in your face or vocal cords, such as deep breathing, humming, or singing, will help calm your nervous system.
“That’s why soldiers often sing when they are going to war, to cope with the stress.”
Christie Manning, assistant professor of environmental studies and psychology at Macalester College, also talked about many ways people are exposed to stress.
“Across the board, one of the major mental health threats to well-being is feeling unmoored. Think about the people who had their homes and lives destroyed by Harvey or Irma or the wildfires in California. People lose everything. Their lives become disconnected from their past and their community. They are now scattered.”
One of the best ways to deal with stress is to feel connected to the people in your life.
Having friends and family members around can help keep you calm and manage stress better. Manning said:
“The more that you are connected to others and you can call upon them, the more likely it is that your entire community will withstand.”
So, turn off that television and stop scrolling through your social media feeds looking at all the bad news. Surround yourself with friends and family members, and learn to stay calm and enjoy life.
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