Winning comes down to who can execute under pressure.

Billie Jean King

Do you thrive under pressure? Maybe you’ve learned to cope with whatever comes your way to ensure you remain the best at what you do and you’ve even said this during an interview.

In today’s society those who work hard, get rewarded. It’s been drilled into our minds by society and we automatically think that the harder we work, the better our work ethic will appear and the more valuable we are for a company and our loved ones.

Researchers say that stress is an important aspect for getting us to perform better at work and in life, but there’s a flip-side to our everyday hustle; the negative impact stress can have on us and our lives!

Stress is very real and those who constantly function and operate under stress is almost certain to run themselves down. It is this ongoing chronic stress that leads to health problems and it is thus important to gauge and find ways to manage your stress levels before it leads to worrying conditions.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be the best, but it cannot be at the cost of your health, sanity and relationships. Let’s look at the impact of stress and why you need stress management skills to build a happier, healthier and more productive life.

The best Personal development tutors available
Rose
5
5 (9 review/s)
Rose
R250
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Marjolein
5
5 (8 review/s)
Marjolein
R800
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Lelethu
5
5 (9 review/s)
Lelethu
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Ronewa
5
5 (8 review/s)
Ronewa
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Maria
5
5 (5 review/s)
Maria
R350
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Gule
5
5 (21 review/s)
Gule
R250
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Jackie
5
5 (5 review/s)
Jackie
R350
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Colin
5
5 (6 review/s)
Colin
R400
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Rose
5
5 (9 review/s)
Rose
R250
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Marjolein
5
5 (8 review/s)
Marjolein
R800
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Lelethu
5
5 (9 review/s)
Lelethu
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Ronewa
5
5 (8 review/s)
Ronewa
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Maria
5
5 (5 review/s)
Maria
R350
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Gule
5
5 (21 review/s)
Gule
R250
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Jackie
5
5 (5 review/s)
Jackie
R350
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Colin
5
5 (6 review/s)
Colin
R400
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Let's go!

The Impact of Stress on Health

Some people have a very troubling relationship with stress. They feel run down and tired all the time, sometimes they notice mood swings and more and more experience infections and flu, but they keep on pushing until the body cannot anymore.

Stress has a physical impact on our bodies and not dealing with it can lead to incurable and potentially fatal health problems. Not only is chronic stress linked to weaker and compromised immune systems, but it’s been proven to have negative effects on our overall health and has even been associated in psychology with eating disorders like bulimia, anorexia and obesity.

Cardiac Problems

According to the medics, highly stressed individuals are far more at risk for developing heart attacks and chronic heart conditions. Stress is slowly over time creating a ticking time bomb in their hearts and their lifestyle lead to higher blood pressure, a faster heart rate and increased levels of cholesterol.

To cope better with stress they might smoke and drink more, eat badly, exercise less or use illegal drugs. These are all ways to get temporary relief from the daily stressors, but the unfortunate part is that it causes more inflammation in the body, worsens the effect of any health conditions and might even lead to higher stress levels after the hangover.

You also don’t have to have a history of heart disease for chronic stress to eventually have an impact on your heart health. Emotional stress can impact anyone and trigger serious heart conditions like heart failure, strokes and heart attacks. Doing regular cardiovascular exercise can be a way to try and control the effects of ongoing stress at home or the workplace.

Ageing Prematurely

Stress makes us older, much faster. Not only will chronic stress bring on more health complications, it will also affect how you grow older. We all want to be as healthy as possible, for as long as possible. To do so we need to learn how to control and manage ourselves in each stressful situation so that we can minimise the negative effects that stress can have on us in the long run.

Asthma

Children can sense stress in their parents, and this can also have an effect on their overall health and happiness. Adult asthma sufferers can experience worsening conditions due to ongoing stress and it will also activate dormant conditions, like asthma, in their children. Many uncontrollable factors can be the cause of asthma, but handling stress in you and your child’s life can prevent it from causing asthma and other unwanted conditions.

Eating Disorders & Bad Digestion

Some people eat more when they get stressed while others lose their appetite completely. Obesity, anorexia and bulimia are all different types of eating disorders that are associated with too much stress.

Cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, increases during stressful times and recovers to natural levels afterwards. Should someone be stressed for long periods, their cortisol levels stay high and has been proven to lead to problems with digestion, weight gain and sleep. All these have an effect on our relationship with food and when already struggling with confidence, it can push us over the edge to develop a long term eating disorder.

Stress and bad eating patterns — in an attempt to relieve stress — have also been associated with many disturbances in our digestive systems. The wrong foods will cause an increase in unhealthy bacteria while suppressing the healthy microbes in our gut, leading to bad digestion and other inflammatory conditions like Irritable bowel syndrome (IRB). Stress can also lead to stress-induced gastritis, a condition that can lead to minimal or severe gastrointestinal blood loss.

Diabetes

Stress can also have a negative effect on the glucose levels of people with pre-existing diabetes. Linking back to bad eating patterns, they might binge on unhealthy food during a stressful situation or grab something on the run which could exacerbate type 2 diabetessignificantly.

Headaches, Migraines and Muscle Tension

Many of the tension headaches and migraines we experience are due to stressful times or situations. The body goes into a natural fight or flight response and prepares the muscles to ‘run’ from an imminent threat. This could lead to muscle twitches and tense or sore muscles throughout our body, especially the neck and upper back region, becoming the indirect cause of headaches and migraines. Some people also experience migraines once the stress passes, leaving them with an extended painful experience even in periods when they are meant to be resting.

yoga instructor helping student do yoga pose
Frequent exercise, good sleep, a healthy diet and finding ways to create positive self-talk are all techniques you can try to reduce the impacts of stress - Source: Pexels

Psychiatric and Mental Health

Stress is not a mental health condition, but it can certainly have an adverse effect on those who are prone to depression and anxiety. Constant stress can trigger the symptoms of depression and if not treated, it can eventually lead to problems that can last a lifetime.

Anxiety and panic attacks are also closely related to stress. Although these conditions are diagnosed and treated on their own, stress can lead to an increased sense of intense fear and the onset of panic attacks in those who experience anxiety. The stress is not the core issue, but a catalyst to worsen underlying mental health challenges. Chronic stress makes it almost impossible for anxiety sufferers to remain calm and collected and they should try and find ways to take extra care during stress.

Luckily, depression and anxiety can both be treated, but you’ll have to keep a very close eye on stress which could just inflame it.

We encourage you to speak to a professional if you experience frequent anxiety or depression.

The sooner you address it, the better your chances of developing coping mechanisms and skills.

Tips and Techniques to Reduce Stress

One of the biggest life skills you can learn is to turn stress around into a positive. If you can take something good from it, allow it to change your life for the better and continue to see the glass half full, you might just one day be grateful for stress instead of landing up sick and unhappy.

Bring some of these changes and strategies into your life to get first-hand experience of stress management benefits.

Recognise The Importance of Stress

Stop procrastinating, acknowledge your stress and use it to get things done. Create moments when you ride that stress for its productivity benefits, but give yourself enough relaxation to counter it's effects. It's important to refill your tank before going through another stressful surge.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Stressful minds tend to lack focus and it becomes harder to complete tasks. Learn to focus on one thing at a time and place all your attention on what you are doing. It will ensure you finish the task in good time and to an excellent standard. Performance-driven, ambitious people need to note that working harder can be counter-productive, especially if you are already tired and stressed out.

Leave work at the office when you leave your workplace and create habits that break the stress-driven thinking. Activities like a gym session and a brisk walk after a stressful day can also help you to disconnect from it and switch to relaxation mode. Getting distance from stress for a while and resting well will also give you new energy to tackle problems with greater clarity and efficiency.

Don;t ignore unusual headaches.
Relaxation techniques can help reduce the physical response your body has during high stress. Photo on Visualhunt

Find Balance

What is important in your life?

Working all the time will come at the cost of other things in your life. This is not problematic if it’s an active choice, but be open-minded and honest at the opportunity cost of your decisions. Working too much can have a negative impact on your family life and relationships.

You also need to find the time to relax, work on your fitness and do other things that make you happy.

Finding the perfect balance to nurture everything you value in your life will ultimately lead to ageing healthily.

Learn to Say No!

If you are a hard worker, chances are you take on more than you should. It is ok to sometimes say no, or to be honest about your limited capacity at the workplace. Your health should always come first and then work, so be honest with yourself and have open conversations with your boss if you cannot get to everything at the office.

Getting help at home and sharing the load of stress in your private life is also important. Speak to your partner if you feel you need a hand with stressors at home, they might be able to offer a helping hand or an alternative perspective and solution.

Stress is a great motivator. It can help us reach new levels, but without the proper stress management, it can also be the cause of extensive emotional, physical and mental health issues.

Don’t let stress get the upper hand. You can choose to build a productive, balance, long and healthy life. Find a personal development coach and together you can discover your stressors, analyse your stress symptoms and find solutions around solving it.

A life coach or personal development coach will help you work on your personal goals and how you balance that with stress through the application of effective stress management strategies.

>

The platform that connects private tutors and students

1st lesson free

Enjoyed this article? Leave a rating!

5.00 (1 rating/s)
Loading...

Mauritz

Writer and qualified yoga instructor, who is passionate about health and well-being.