Managing Stress to Prevent Illness

Managing Stress to Prevent IllnessIt is probably no surprise that long-term stress can cause disease, but have you ever wondered exactly how that can happen? Can it be that individuals who know how to manage stress avoid becoming as ill or ill as often as those who do not cope well with stress?

Two things are true…we all live with germs and we all deal with stress. The type and level of germs and the type and level of stress may vary and then there are the variables associated with how well we have learned how to manage stress.

If we manage stress poorly, stress can intensify and cause damage. Stress can cause physical, emotional and mental symptoms in children, teens, and adults. Even an unborn baby can be affected by the level of stress the mom-to-be is experiencing especially is she is experiencing extreme stress.

There are also different types of stress that we can either manage poorly or learn how to manage so that the effects on our lives are minimized.

Stress can come in different types including physical stress such as the stress felt on the body, emotions and mental state of a person when the body experiences an amputation. There is mental stress when a person suffers the loss of a job due to negligence on his/her part and then there is emotional stress such as when a marriage dissolves.

Stress can result from change such as a move, retirement, divorce or climate change. All of these changes can create stress that requires management in order to not adversely affect the individual’s well-being.

Stress and our ability to manage it or not seems to be closely tied to physiological process that the body undergoes when there is a response to the presence of stress. The body makes a physical response in the form of several things including withdrawing most of the body from the largest organ of the body, the skin and redirecting it to the legs in preparation for possible flight and in circulating blood to a more rapidly beating heart.

The body also increases respirations so that the person breathes more rapidly and more deeply so that the muscles of the legs have the required oxygen to function for possible long sprints. The pulse rate will increase and the body will sweat more as a way to cool off from a long run.

These physiological processes the body goes through during the response to stress can trigger sympathetic nervous system decline if the stress that we are experiencing is of a long-term nature. This reaction by the sympathetic nervous system can equate to a hormone, corticosteroid to be produced in larger quantities.

The result of increased corticosteroid is an increase in appetite, which will then allow the individual to gain weight. Many diseases are related to obesity or being overweight that the connection is important between long-term stress and illness.

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Originally posted 2008-11-09 14:13:23.

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