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How too much stress affects your health

Picture by Kat Smith for Pexels

Most people live their lives like a marathon. They have so many things on their daily to-do list, it almost feels like they cannot manage to finish any of these tasks without breaking down. Whether personal or professional, the constant level of stress rises with every duty. More than half of the young adults between 18-35 years in Ireland claim to regularly feel stressed. Stress is a condition that can be endangering health in the long run.

Dr. Carla Rondeck is a stress doctor from Munich who found out what makes stress so dangerous. By observing people who feel stressed, she was able to figure out symptoms that may hint at the beginning of a stress level that is too high for the person.

Pictures by Rodnae Production, Inzmam Khan, cottonbro studio and Pedro Figures for Pexels, edited by Annalena Bischoff for The Circular

“If someone is under constant stress, you just notice that the person has a huge lack of energy, he or she is very overwrought quickly, has sleeping problems, often also has problems with digestion”, she says. People also start forgetting things and have trouble concentrating. In the long run, there can be strong blood pressure fluctuations. According to Dr. Rondeck, people say they can constantly feel their heart beating; as if they were having arrhythmias. “Stress goes right on the system of their bodies and, of course, also on their mental health”, Dr. Rondeck continues.

It can be different situations in which we notice that we react more sensitively than we usually would if we weren’t on a certain level of stress. There might have been a fight with our parents which causes abdominal pain and that’s why we can’t enjoy seeing our friends at night because this fight sticks in our minds. Another example would be a long list of assignments for college, where just the thought of the amount of work triggers something inside our brain and leads to a blockade.

There are many reasons why stress has a significant impact on our health system, says Dr. Carla Rondeck. “It may be that our immune system is weakened, the intestine is attacked, toxins enter the body, external influences, or just the lack of sleep. It can also be just too much work and too little recreation.” The feeling of stress makes certain hormones release which then causes the nervous system to feel attacked and make the system tilt. According to Dr. Rondeck, the whole process starts in the brain and then impacts certain organs, especially the heart.

Stress is a widespread disease in the 21st century. We are constantly exposed to stress and our resilience is put to the test every single day. It is hard to just tune off due to the variety of distractions in the Internet era.

Graphic by the Central Statistics Office

Looking at the numbers of 2022 of the Central Statistics Office, it is clearly visible that almost everyone in Ireland has access to the Internet, whereas 94 % of the people use the internet on a daily basis. Especially younger people have their smartphones nearby almost all the time, even in school, at university, or work. While it can be an advantage to be able to be in touch with people from all over the world and get a push notification with the latest news, it can also negatively impact our psyche because there is no break.

Picture by energypic.com for Pexels

Being constantly available is one of the reasons why people may feel a rising level of stress, finds Dr. Rondeck. People don’t have the opportunity to just calm down because there is always something happening. Either the news comes in, someone is regularly texting and expecting quick answers, or people get stuck on social media platforms, trying to stay up to date. “This constant intake of information also stresses our brain, even though we think we might be recovering”, she states.

Julia Wilde from D-News explains the phenomenon of “psychogenic fever” and the hormonal processes happening within the body because of stress in the following video:

What Does Stress Do To Your Body? by Seeker for YouTube

Nevertheless, stress can also mean life energy according to Dr. Carla Rondeck. By being much more attentive and having sharpened senses, we can go to our maximum. We do things a lot faster than normally because of our increased level of adrenaline but we should never forget to rest and charge our inner battery.

We cannot escape from our stressed lives, having a long list of chores, assignments, or a whole load of responsibilities at work. Other examples of stress factors can be guests in their own house, being stuck in traffic, or having too many appointments on the calendar. With all these duties, it is important to find a way of lowering one’s stress level. Here are 7 useful tips by Anthem:

Stress Relief Tips – 7 Ways on How to Lower Stress by Anthem for YouTube

Being under constant stress for more than 3 or 4 months can be dangerous for our health, says Dr. Rondeck. If it goes to that point, the body needs time to calm down, also because there is a high risk of cardiovascular diseases.

A helpful piece of advice is to include breaks in our stressful lives, which should at least be 30 minutes per day, even better is to do short breaks every 90 minutes. There are several activities we can do to lower our stress levels and get additional energy out of our bodies. Whether it is going for a run or working out, doing yoga, spending more time cooking, or enjoying some painting. It is most important to do something that does well for our body and also for our mind since stress comes from our brain.

Whether you are more into sports to get out the additional energy or pick meditation and calmness as your way out of stress, here are some playlists you might find motivating:

Workout Motivation 2023 Playlist on Spotify
Meditate to the Sounds of Nature Playlist on Spotify

Stress accompanies us everywhere and at anytime. We cannot get rid of it but certain ways help us cope with the stress. Changing our mindset, taking time to laugh, and having fun, even in the busiest times, are necessary to keep us balanced. Replacing the mindset of feeling the urge to do something with “I would like to do it” might already help because we can find out what our actual desires are and which duties we have to reduce, just for the sake of our health.

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