A little stress in life is natural and good. It may help you buckle down and focus on a task at hand. But modern life is more stressful than ever. So, many of us experience ongoing periods of stress with little relief. Although it’s hard to measure stress and people react differently to it, there is evidence that it can add up and emotionally drain us and physically affect our heart health.
What Is Stress?
Stress is a psychological and physical response by your body to anything that is perceived as a threat or a challenge. Stress can be caused by either a negative challenge (like a death in the family) or a positive challenge (such as a wedding). When you experience stress, your body acts like an alarm system. It makes hormones (such as adrenaline and cortisol) that give you a burst of extra energy. This helps you get through temporary periods of stress until you can relax again.
The stress response is often called the “fight or flight” response, because your body is hard-wired to give you quick energy to either fight off or run away from a threat. However, when the stress hormones are continually released because you are “stressed out,” it is thought that they harm your health in many ways. And when you are stressed, you are more likely to let your healthy lifestyle behaviors slip, which can be harmful to your heart health.
In today’s society, it is hard to fight off or run away from mounting stress. But you can do something about it. While you can’t completely avoid stress, SecondsCount can help you minimize it by changing the way you deal with stress, including: