HEALTHY YOU: Stress could result in physical illness

One of the major components we tend to overlook when it comes to our overall health is the health of our minds.

But in today’s high-stress, fast-paced society, it is more important than ever to keep our mental health in check.

Stress is the body’s reaction to any change requiring a response.

It reacts to those changes through physical, mental and emotional responses, and can be triggered by environment, body, and internal thoughts.

Too much stress can manifest itself physically, causing unpleasant side effects such as ulcers, sleep deprivation, food disorders or headaches.

“If we experience a lot of continuous distress and we don’t take steps to remedy it, it just wears us down gradually,” said Mark Ring, Canadian certified counsellor.

The bad news is stress effects everyone, but by engaging in self-care, you can minimize the impact, Ring said.

“Life causes stress, there’s no way to avoid it,” he said. “We can do things to minimize it, by taking more realistic view of our expectations.”

Sometimes we amplify the amount of stress that we’re feeling just by the way we’re looking at things or thinking about things.

Examples of that include taking on too many extra tasks at work, financial worries or getting into an argument with a spouse or partner. All are stresses that can be managed by re-evaluating our expectations of ourselves, learning to communicate more effectively with others or simple stress relief.

Ring said there are two different types of stress – eustress and distress.

Eustress is essentially defined as ‘good stress’.

The best way of obtaining eustress is through physical exercise and activities such as yoga.

He said it is important when de-stressing to connect to something bigger than ourselves, something that connects us with the natural world.

“The more you do it, the better you’re going to be much more able to deal with [distress].”

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