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HEALTH AND WELLNESS

Stress

You may think illness is to blame for that nagging headache, your frequent insomnia or your decreased productivity at work. But stress may actually be the culprit.

You’re sitting in traffic, late for an important meeting, watching the minutes tick away. Your hypothalamus, a tiny control tower in your brain, decides to send out the order: Send in the stress hormones! These stress hormones are the same ones that trigger your body’s “fight or flight” response.

Your heart races, your breath quickens, and your muscles ready for action. This response was designed to protect your body in an emergency by preparing you to react quickly. But when the stress response keeps firing, day after day, it could put your health at serious risk.

Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences. Everyone expresses stress from time to time. Anything from everyday responsibilities like work and family to serious life events can trigger stress.

Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones that increase your heart and breathing rates and ready your muscles to respond.

But if your stress response doesn’t stop firing, and these stress levels stay elevated far longer than is necessary for immediate survival, it can take a toll on your health. Chronic stress can cause a variety of symptoms and affect your overall well-being. Symptoms of chronic stress include:

  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • headaches
  • insomnia

 

 

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