What is Chronic Stress and How Do I Learn to Cope Better?

What is Chronic Stress and How Do I Learn to Cope Better?

Chronic stress is a prolonged feeling of stress that keeps impacting your health in a bad way. It can be caused by the everyday pressures of balancing family and work or by traumatic situations. To help manage stress, you need to know what causes it and how it impacts the body.

Chronic Stress

Chronic stress comes from physiological arousal that is ongoing, day after day. This unrelenting fervor just wears the body down over time. The autonomic nervous system does not have a chance to activate the relaxation response on a regular basis. This means the body is always in arousal. This means the body does not experience peace and is always on high alert.

Causes of Stress

This type of chronic stress response occurs all too frequently from our modern lifestyle. Everything from jobs with lots of pressure to feeling lonely or dealing with traffic jams on the way to work can keep the body in a state of perceived threat and chronic stress. In this case, our fight-or-flight response, which was designed to help us fight a few life-threatening situations spaced out over a long period (like being attacked by a bear every so often), can wear down our bodies and cause us to become ill, either physically or emotionally.

Chronic Stress is Long Term

If your family is struggling financially or with a severe illness, the stress can become chronic. Someone in your home may not be able to work or perhaps bills are piling up. Your home is nearing foreclosure and this leaves you stressed. Your worries wear you out and make you tired. You may be so worked up you make unhealthy lifestyle choices around food and exercise. This leads to serious depression and other mental health issues. Constant travel and high-pressure business relationships keep your body in a state of excitement, even when you get home to family. This adds to the wear and tear on your body over time.

Coping

If you deal with this kind of stress, you need to manage it effectively. Stress relief comes from having self-care practices like taking care of exercise, nutrition, and healthy behaviors. No matter how stressed you are, you should be able to take a break and relax and have fun. If you cannot have fun because of stress, it may be time to address this issue and move forward in your life with recovery groups that focus on stress management techniques or therapeutic support. Life is too short to feel stressed all the time and it takes a toll on your mind and body over time. Help is available if you are ready to receive it for yourself.

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