The Stress – Anxiety Connection

Be Happy – The Anxiety Secrets You Need to Know...

Step 1. Select Which Type of Anxiety You Suffer With

Everyone gets stressed. It’s a part of life. How much stress you have to handle and how you handle it is what matters when it comes to reducing anxiety. But just what is stress and why can too much of it be bad for us?

Many many years ago, when we used to live in caves, man was driven by automatic responses that were beyond conscious control. One of the most vital was the flight-or-fight response. When man needed to run or fight danger, or chase down prey this response would kick-in, sending a surge of hormones through the body allowing him to think and react quicker.

This response was crucial for evading dangerous prey and for hunting. Without it the human race would be extinct.And these responses are still part of modern man, but now there is a big difference…

We no longer need to hunt or run from prey, yet when we are faced with a daunting situation that isn’t necessarily life threatening, our inner brain reacts to it as if it our life was in danger. Then the age old flight-or-fight response kicks in.

Things that cause stress, be it from real dangerous situations or otherwise, are called stressors. Modern society is plagued by these every day stresses. In day-to-day life we are exposed to dozens, if not hundreds, of these little stressors: your alarm clock waking you, seeing war on the TV news, rushing for the bus before you miss it, that cup of coffee you just drank, this list is endless…

  • Social stress (e.g. talking to people, making presentations)
  • Family (e.g. arguing with family, death of loved one)
  • Change (e.g. moving home, getting sacked)
  • Chemical (e.g. pesticides, pollution)
  • Work (e.g. deadline pressure, pressure for promotion)
  • Commuting
  • Decision making
  • Phobias
  • Disease
  • Wound healing
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Environment (e.g. loud noises, poor living conditions)
  • Negative attitude or beliefs
  • Emotional stress
  • Fear
  • Financial pressure
  • Overexertion
  • Lack of sleep
  • Too little or too much exercise
  • No relaxation
  • Allergens
  • Toxins
  • Lack of nutritious foods
  • Too much sugar / white flour products
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking

These stressors all trigger the flight-or-fight response, even if only for a short burst. But these short bursts have a cumulative effect. Our body can only handle so much stress before it has to counteract the response; there is only so much adrenaline and other stress chemicals your body can produce.

Eventually, given prolonged stress, your body becomes resistant to the signals of stress. This may sound good, but it’s anything but. Without the normal stress response to protect your body, any stressors that aren’t dealt with have a direct impact on the body.

Every time you experience stress, physical or mental, your body’s reaction is to produce hormones to help you deal with that, most notably adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones help you push on in difficult stressful times, helping you utilize your body’s resources the best it can.

But eventually your stress response becomes fatigued. When this happens your ability to pump out these coping hormones reduces. This is known as adrenal fatigue. And when this happens everything is made worse; you become more snappy and may suffer outbursts of anger, you worry more, silly things get under your skin and irritate you, depression and anxiety increase – you become more emotionally unstable. To fully overcome anxiety, you need to learn to reduce your stress, or manage it better.

The good news is that counteracting stress is a fairly easy process, and by doing so you can reverse its negative effects. Something else to bear in mind is that not all stressors are detrimental. In fact, some forms of stress are positively healthy. Take exercise, for example, which paradoxically reduces stress.

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