In today’s world, however, we often deal with chronic stress. This means our body stays in a sort of ongoing flight-or-fight mode and continues to release chemicals that it shouldn’t release for long periods of time. The consequence of our body’s confused state can be high blood pressure, glucose intolerance, sleep difficulties, anxiety, depression, and more. Living in an ongoing flight-or-fight mode is bad for our health. Chronic stress must be addressed to avoid lasting side effects on the mind and body.
Stress is part of life. We can’t avoid it. Yet, somehow, we delude ourselves. We go through different stages of life believing that the next stage will be better and less stressful. I hear people say things like, “I will be happy...”“...once I complete this task...”or “...after I solve this problem...” or “...when I pass this exam....” In my experience, this notion of “no more stress” in the future is counterproductive. Solutions for one problem can bring new problems. As humans, we are never satisfied. We are constantly scanning for the next threat, the next potential difficulty. We worry and try to avoid these potential threats in order to live a peaceful life. In reality, it is impossible to avoid stressful situations in life. It is much better to learn coping mechanisms that can help us deal with the inevitable stresses that life will throw our way.
When we spend too much time worrying, called rumination, our sleep can be disturbed. Worry causes frequent awakening, especially in the early morning hours. Poor quality sleep then results in daytime tiredness and irritability. It becomes a vicious, unhealthy cycle. Therefore, we must learn coping strategies to combat stress and maintain balance in our lives.
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