Broken Arrow Family Drug blog
Get to know Stress.
Some form of stress is a part of everyday life. With our jobs, our commutes in busy traffic, our families and roles as a parent or partner, the day is ripe with opportunities for stress.
But just what exactly is Stress?
Stress by itself is normal – it’s a normal physical response to events that make upset your balance in some way. When you feel threatened, either physically or emotionally, in any capacity, you are stressed. Even happy events can bring on stress — because they are a change to the norm. Unfortunately, stress makes the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight-or-freeze” reaction, or the stress response, and this can be an issue if it continues over a long period of time.
The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life—giving you extra strength to defend yourself, for example. I remember being chased by a dog in my neighborhood growing up. I ran faster than I thought humanely possible and escaped with just a nick. I had stress to thank for that! Stress about an important exam can also kick in for your children and help them focus on the test at hand. On the other hand, prolonged stress takes a tremendous toll on the body. Traumatic situations, such as an ailing family member, or an ongoing divorce, can cause daily stress to upset the balance of the body. And these days, people can be upset over many things, even happy things – such as preparing for a wedding. Beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life.
With so many opportunities to “Stress out,” we have become unaware of how much of our daily lives we really live in stress. In order to combat chronic stress, it’s important to be able to recognize the subtle indicators of stress.
Indicators of Stress
Trouble remembering things
Racing thoughts as you try and fall asleep
Trouble staying asleep
Nail biting, jittery limbs and other “nervous habits”
If these symptoms sound familiar to you then consider that you live in a state of chronic stress. Behind the scenes, this is causing harm to your body, and is most certainly already causing harm to your mood and your relationship.
Often we live our lives in a state of “just get through the day.” We’ve developed the ability to tune out all of these symptoms. And that has to stop, before stress does real damage. This week, we want you to keep a pen and notebook handy (or if you’re a digital person, a notepad on your computer or mobile device works too!) and begin to note whenever you feel any of the symptoms listed above. Just practice awareness this week, and in the next post, we’ll talk about how to alleviate and diminish the stress!