Stress can affect your body as well as your mind
“My life consists of 90 percent stress, and the other 10 percent is boys and sports,” said one LHS junior. “It simply makes me feel like crap.” Why do people stress? In the end, all it does to you is cause headaches, migraines, loss of sleep, heartburn, heavy breathing, heartaches, high blood pressure, stomach aches, depression, and a list that goes far further than one could ever imagine. The real question is, when students stress, what type of crazy stuff is actually impacting the way their bodies act? Stress comes in a variety of forms. Some stress happens due to the result of a single, short-term event, such as having an argument with a loved one or doing badly on a test or quiz. Other type of stress happen due to recurring conditions, such as managing a long-term illness and/or a demanding job. When repeating events cause stress that is both intense and sustained over a long period of time, it can be referred to as “toxic” stress. All stress triggers physiological reactions, and toxic stress is specifically problematic because of the significant harm it can do to the human body and brain. Millennials and teenagers are widely believed to be dealing with more stress than ever before. The negative effects of stress intensify when those millenials and teens belong to groups who are ostracized due to characteristics such as race, disability status, or identifying as LGBT. They struggle with more stress than peers who do not encounter such societal biases as regularly as they do. Toxic stress is exactly what it sounds like: it is the type of stress that is harmful, not only to one’s quality of life, but to one’s health as well. Toxic stress doesn’t just lead to impaired functions in the brain, it can also lead to other significant problems, such as increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Many other systems of the body stop working properly too, including the digestive and reproductive structures. Toxic stress can impair the body’s immune system and re-create any already existing illnesses. A study administered by the Health Coach trainers and doctors found that “being healthy is much more than drinking green juices and hitting the gym. If you never catch your breath, wake up feeling tired, anxious, emotionally drained, and can’t rid stubborn abdominal fat, you cannot actually be healthy.” To live a healthy life, and to pursue happiness, one needs to have the right mindset and not stress over every little thing. Although not all stress is toxic, too much of it can be detrimental. Emotional stress that reoccurs for weeks or even months can weaken the immune system and cause body fatigue. The longer the stress lasts, the worse it is for both mind and body. Fatigue, the inability to concentrate, irritability, all are evidence of toxic stress. As the end of the school year winds down, fourth quarter becomes quite stressful for many different reasons. Students who feel that stress is becoming an issue, and need to practice better stress management might want to heed this common advice:
* Identify what’s causing the stress. * Try to maintain a sense of humor. * Build strong relationships. * Dedicate time to hobbies. * Maintain regular physical activity. * Eat properly. * Add more protein to your diet. * Walk away from angry situations. * Rest your mind by practicing meditation techniques like deep breathing and yoga. * Get some more sleep. * Get help.