How to Reverse the Effects of Chronic Stress
Acute stress, which is short term and the most common form of stress, can be motivating and some even find it exciting when experienced in low doses. Chronic stress, however, provides zero positive advantages. On the contrary, it can wreak havoc on your body and mind.
Fortunately, you don’t have to fall victim to the effects of chronic stress, regardless of how long you’ve lived with them. Its symptoms can not only be managed but also reversed.
According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress occurs when you feel trapped by stress over extended periods of time, when there seems to be no solution in sight. Unlike acute stress, which you can quickly identify, chronic stress often goes undetected as you become accustomed to its familiarity, no matter how unpleasant it may be. Over time, it begins to wear you down, both physically and mentally.
Symptoms of stress include (but are not limited to):
- Shortness of breath
- Stomach pain
- Tense, aching muscles
- Emotional distress such as anxiety, irritability, and depression
- Feeling overwhelmed and out of control
- Difficulty focusing
- Changes in appetite
When experienced in the short term, these symptoms do little to affect your long-term health. As uncomfortable as they may be in the present, they will eventually pass if experienced only temporarily. It becomes a problem when you experience a variation of symptoms over an extended period of time. Prolonged stress damages your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness, infection, and a host of serious health problems such as heart disease and some kinds of cancer.
A common misconception is stress must be avoided altogether before its damaging effects occur. But when you try to fight it or flee from it, you only intensify it. The truth is, stress is a part of life. The best thing you can do for your health and well-being is to develop a healthy relationship with stress, which starts with learning how to manage it.
Fortunately, it’s never too late to learn how to learn how to manage stress and help reverse its negative impact. Below are a few ways to undo the damaging effects of stress that you can put into practice right now: