How Does Stress Affect My Mental Health?
February 5, 2018 / Sharnie Carter
Stress. What would we do without it?
Probably be a lot happier in some cases; but stress also has some positive effects, too.
Here’s a little quiz to get us started:
Which of these statements about stress are false?
- Stress can happen to anyone
- Long-lasting stress can have negative effects on mental health
- There are several ways to manage stress
- Stress can manifest into physical problems
- Stress can have positive effects on mental health
…did you get it right? The correct answer… is that none of them are false. All of the above statements about stress are true.
Stress can happen to anyone
Anyone can develop stress. Whether it is a one-time occurrence or repetitive over a long period of time, all types of stress are just as important as each other.
Stress can vary from being overwhelmed with work at school or in your job, to dealing with a loss or a simple illness; it is unpredictable when stress will occur and how it will affect people differently.
Long-lasting stress can have negative effects on mental health
If prolonged, stress can be detrimental to your mental health.
Being stressed can lead to other emotional changes such as depression, anxiety and anger as you struggle to learn how to cope. These conditions can be long-lasting effects; for example, anxiety can cause nausea and stomach pains, and anger can lead to frustrating and dangerous situations – these will affect you in a much more serious way than the stress itself.
There are several ways to manage stress
Learning how to manage stress will reduce its impact on your life.
Simple things like:
- Participating in exercise
- Eliminating the initial cause of the stress
- Talking to friends/a professional about your stress
These can make a big difference and considerably reduce the impact of stress.
Stress can manifest into physical problems
The same responses your body has to danger is how it can also respond to stress. As its focus lies solely on getting rid of the stress, it supresses your immune, sleep, digestive and other functional systems within the body. This can stop your body working correctly and lead to long-term physical effects.
Stress can have positive effects on mental health
Not all stress is as bad as it seems.
Stress can be motivating to some people; having to take a test or preparing for an interview can push people to perform and over achieve. It can also be life-saving in certain situations. In some cases, the “fight or flight response” that your body has in response to danger creates heightened body functions. For example, a quicker heart rate, adrenaline, more strength and rapid brain activity, which are all functions that are aimed to help you survive.
If you ever feel stressed, then just know that it doesn’t need to be a major crisis. Learn how your body personally reacts to stress and you will be able to combat it in the best way. And remember, there are always people to help.