Stress - The Silent Killer

Updated: Apr 22, 2019

Stress, it can be a silent killer. We hear about it all the time, but what effect can it have on you, and how can you deal with it? Today, I’m going to highlight some of the issues that stress can cause, and how you can try and manage it. First off, it’s not easy. If it was easy to deal with it, it wouldn’t be such a huge problem for so many people, but there are healthy ways to deal with it, and not so healthy ways.

So, what is stress? Well, stress is a response from your body to events within your life. Your body releases stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, in an attempt to help you deal with that event. Now, it’s not always a bad thing. In small doses or certain situations, it can help you focus, give you a blast of energy, or result in our ‘fight or flight’ response. It’s sort of like a built-in self-defence system. However, it becomes a problem when it becomes chronic, or long-term, and can have a serious effect on your health.

What effects can it have? I hate to tell you this, but damn near anything, mind and body. Prolonged periods of stress can affect your brain, resulting in mental health issues, your immune system, your digestive system, sleep patterns, weight management, and your pain and nervous system. So, unfortunately the symptoms can be wide and varied, but the key is to look for any changes in your life, especially if those changes persist. Any changes in mood, memory or focus, aches and nausea, eating, sleeping or new coping mechanisms, such as drugs or alcohol. Notice anything like this, and your alarm bells should probably start ringing.

So, what causes stress? Again, strap in, because it’s not great news. It can be anything, depending on the person. You might be the type of person who stresses out when they’re not on time, but you often find that persistent stress is caused by bigger things, like relationships, home life or work life. So, we’re normally talking money issues, a heavy workload, an injury or illness, disagreements with your partner, struggles with your sexuality, and/or prejudices you face.

How can I deal with it? Well, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to deal with, but the key is to identify the problem, and then try to eliminate, or at least reduce the impact it’s having on you. See if there’s anything you can do with your lifestyle to makes things easier on yourself, things like diet and exercise will help. Now, given the potential causes that I discussed above, it might not be possible for you to just change something to reduce your stress levels, and the best piece of advice I can give you in this situation, is to ask for help, ask for support. Particularly nowadays with an increased emphasis on mental health, family, friends and employers are becoming much better, and much more accepting of issues like stress. Talk to your doctor about how they can help too. We’re getting to the point where we have a greater understanding, and better treatments for these things, so you don’t have to suffer in silence. Remember, a problem shared is a problem halved. Stay strong, speak up, and see you next week.

Dan Miller

Body Fuel Personal Fitness Trainer