Is stress draining you out?

Dr. Liau
Dr. Liau

Functional Medicine

Stress is the sensation of being under unusual pressure. This pressure might come from a variety of sources in your daily life. It’s possible that it has a cumulative effect, with each stressor piling on top of the others. Some people are remarkably resilient when coping with pressure. They know when to take a break, analyze the situation, or seek help from others. But, unfortunately, more people react in a self-destructive way.

Types of Stress
Acute Stress
The most common type of stress is acute stress. It arises from present demands and tensions as well as expected future needs and pressures. Too much acute stress small doses is draining but we are able to regain our physical and emotional balance shortly after. Acute stress does not have enough time to induce severe damage compared to long-term stress. It is treatable and manageable.

Episodic Acute Stress
Episodic acute stress is defined as acute stress that appears to be rampant and a way of life, resulting in a life of continual distress. They take on too much and are unable to arrange the flood of self-inflicted pressures demanding their attention. They appear to be trapped in a state of high stress all the time.

Chronic Stress
Chronic stress wreaks havoc on our bodies, minds, and lives. It is defined as stress that appears to be eternal and unavoidable. Chronic stress occurs when a person cannot see a way out of a bad situation. It’s the tension of never-ending expectations and pressures for what seems like an eternity. With no hope, the individual abandons his or her search for solutions.

Stress And Cortisol Hormone
When your body detects stress, the adrenal glands produce and release the hormone cortisol into your bloodstream. Cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone” because of its role in the body’s stress response. However, it is more than just stress. Cortisol constricts the arteries, whereas epinephrine raises your heart rate. They work together to make your blood flow quicker and harder while you address and handle the immediate threat. 

When the stress is continuous, your fight-or-flight response remains activated due to the presence of the high cortisol hormone. The long-term activation of the stress response system, as well as the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones, can affect practically all of your body’s systems. This increases your chances of developing a variety of health and mental issues. This includes:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Muscle tension and pain
  • Heart diseases
  • High blood pressure and stroke
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Abnormal weight gain
  • Memory and concentration impairment

Cortisol is necessary for health, but too much of it can cause havoc on your body and induce a number of undesirable effect.

Healthy And Natural Stress Management
It is difficult not to feel overwhelmed from time to time. You can get overly worried and overburdened when managing your job, family, and other events in life. You may feel helpless when you are unable to change your current situation. However, you must still make time to relax, or your mental and physical health may suffer.

It takes practice to learn how to regulate your stress. Start by learning to recognize and understand the source of your stress and how to take care of yourself physically and emotionally even when facing a challenging situation.

  • Exercise regularly
    Working out on a daily basis is one of the most effective ways to calm your body and mind. It reduces stress hormones’ level of the body. For example, adrenaline and cortisol. Exercise would also boost your mood as it stimulates the production of endorphins. Through numerous studies, it has been proven effective that it could improve sleep quality, reduce stress, and improve overall health, which can lower cortisol level over time. However, overdoing it may lead to the opposite effect. Low to moderate intensity exercise is recommended.
  • Laughter is the best medicine
    Did you know that authentic and forced laughter can lower your stress? Therefore people who are under stress are encouraged to find ways to include joy into your life through watching comedies or reading jokes online. Spending time on things you like doing can also promote feelings of well-being for lower cortisol. Tending to your own happiness can help keep cortisol levels low. If you’re stressed, try listening to relaxing music or try to make yourself laugh.

Avoid unhealthy ways of dealing with stress, such as drinking, smoking, using drugs, or overeating when coping with emotional distress. It does provide momentary pleasure but does not address the underlying causes of stress that would eventually cause dependency and addiction. 

Approach a functional medicine practitioner to help you manage stress in the most natural and healthy way.

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