The Stress Mess

We all have some level of stress in our daily lives, wouldn't you agree? Between the uptick in Covid (new variant) and the January 6 hearings, and of course, our own hormonal ups and downs, we may be experiencing a real hot mess right now.

We can’t do anything about the new variant or the hearings, but we can take action with our own health and that means learning to manage your stress levels, which impact you physically and mentally.

But first, did you know there are two types of stress? There is temporary (aka acute), or long-term (aka chronic).

Acute stress usually won’t mess with your health too much. It is your body’s natural reaction to circumstances, and can even be life-saving. It goes into mode when we have to deal with an immediate threat. Then, when the “threat” (stressor) is gone, the reaction subsides, and all is well. Your body goes back into homeostasis.

And there's long-term (chronic) stress. If these stress reactions are triggered every day or many times a day that unabated can mess with your health; which is what you may be experiencing these days. Monitor your stress throughout the day and take note of how often this is happening. You could be on your way (or already there) to coping with chronic stress.

Stress (and stress hormones) can have a huge impact on your health. And the best way to deal with them is to a) recognize them and b) find better ways to manage them other than overeating or other negative lifestyle choices.

Many of you know I don't watch TV news...I consider it very stressful. Instead I listen to the radio and only in small doses to know what is going on in the outside world. And I have incorporated listening to classical music as well, especially when I am working on a project and want to stay focused, at work or at home. You may want to try this too - and note how you feel.

Let's dive into the "stress mess." This is what happens to your body on a "stress diet".

  • Mess #1 - Increased risk of heart disease and diabetes

Why save the best for last? Anything that increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes (both serious, chronic conditions) needs to be discussed. Stress increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes by promoting chronic inflammation, affecting your blood "thickness," as well as how well your cells respond to insulin.