We all deal with stress on a daily basis, but exactly what is stress? What causes stress? Is there a link between stress and your emotional health?
I will attempt to answer these questions both generally and in detail in the following pages, not as an expert, but from the perspective of a woman dealing with stress just like you.
Most likely you know that stress and health are tightly linked together. The lower your stress, the better your health.
An easy definition of stress might be anything that causes you to become upset. A more technical definition of "what is stress" might be a physiological response of the body to a threat, whether real or imagined.
Almost anything can cause stress, because each person reacts differently to the stimuli around them and within them. What causes me stress might not bother you in the least and vice-versa.
Stress isn't always a bad thing either. Fear in the face of danger sets off a string of reactions in the body which allows you to react quickly, and either fight the danger or flee from it. This is the "fight or flight" response, and it is necessary at times.
~ Most of the time, however, we're not dealing with stress we need to physically fight or run away from. ~
Here's the kicker: your body still responds the same way internally! This means the same hormones are released to make you think quickly, have extra strength and quickness, and PHYSICALLY deal with the stress, but that extra energy is not being expended and there's no "return to normal" so to speak. Your body is not calming back down.
What is Stress? A Vicious Cycle
This causes a vicious cycle of stress and hormone release, which causes more stress, which causes more hormones to release, and on and on. If the cycle continues it produces chronic stress, a condition our bodies are not designed to deal with. Hence we face illness, disease, fatigue, or any number of physical manifestations of an internal problem.
Most of us, especially as women, aren't very good at dealing with stress. We simply have too much to do and too little time to do it - and often too many people who need our time and attention.
We are masters at serving others - our loved ones, our boss, our friends - even strangers - but we are also woefully neglectful of ourselves.
We live our lives in a state of constant stress and then wonder why we can't seem to cope with life, why we're so unhappy, why we have addictions to food and other things that calm our nerves and give us a temporary reprieve from our difficult situations and circumstances.