Though free from lions, modern life, with its seemingly endless number of commitments and responsibilities, leaves many feeling worn out, worried, or depressed. When the body consistently prioritises the ‘fight or flight’ response, less energy and resources are available to ‘rest and digest’. As a result, a few days of stress can affect your sleep, ruin your appetite or make you ‘comfort eat’, or give you a sore stomach or loose bowel motions.
After several weeks to months of chronic stress, you can experience exhaustion and mood changes (such as feeling irritable, snappy, anxious or withdrawn), and you may be more likely to come down with an infection. Stress manifests itself differently, depending on the person and the circumstances. Some individuals feel ‘wired and tired’ when exhaustion comes with worries and anxiety. Others may experience burn out and feel ‘flat and fatigued’, totally lacking in drive or energy while also feeling depressed. Getting to know how stress affects you is one of the first steps in creating a stress management plan that works for your needs.
It is important to note that long-term stress over months and years can impact your whole body, and may even increase the risk of serious diseases, including cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
As such, learning to effectively manage your stress can not only improve how you feel right now but greatly benefit your health in the long-term.