When stress triggers our body’s overdrive system, or “flight or fight” response, it enables us to go above and beyond our normal limitations to ensure we can handle the situation.
The short-term benefits allow us to rise to the occasion much like a car’s engine. While slamming on the accelerator, your car or truck will give you an instant burst in speed, and holding it down for too long will cause the engine to overheat and burn out. The same is true for our bodies; the short-term effects of our overdrive system are immensely positive, but when the stressor is pushed to the limit long-term it can have a detrimental effect on our bodies and minds.
Over time, high levels of stress can lead to serious health problems. It’s important to not wait until the stress has a negative impact on our health, relationships or quality of life before we look to manage it in an effective and healthy way. This list below shows some possible outcomes if stress is left unchecked.
- Inability to concentrate
- Negative attitude
- Memory Issues
- Anxious or racing thoughts
- Irritability or short temper
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Depression or general unhappiness
- Eating more or less than usual
- Procrastination or neglecting responsibilities
- Using alcohol, cigarettes or other drugs to help relax
- Nervous habits (pacing, nail biting, etc.)
- Chest pain or rapid heartbeat
- Frequent colds
- Aches and pains
If you need help managing your stress, take a look at our Coping with Stress post to learn about healthy ways to manage your stress levels