There are universal stress points that affect us all. How we respond to these stressors can influence our well-being. Unchecked stress can affect your health and contribute to conditions such as:
As your level or frequency of stress increases, stress can cause your body to show more serious health problems, including:
How does stress affect your health?
Stress has an important role in health and safety. In fact, a section of your brain called the hypothalamus is designed to work as a control center, responding to circumstances that might need a physical reaction. Based on physical cues, it sends out the order for cortisol to flood the body. This hormone can quicken the heart rate, increase breathing rates and fire up your muscles. Evolutionarily, this “fight-or-flight” response was intended to activate for purposes of survival, such as when you perceive a threat or attack. In modern life, however, sitting in traffic or seeing a negative bank account can also induce the same physiological reaction. Over time, the constant release of cortisol can be damaging to your body and your health.
Identify your stressors
The first step in getting the fight-or-flight response under control is identifying causes you stress. Stressors typically fall into four main categories:
Journaling can help you identify what triggers your stress response. Spend a short amount of time for a few days or weeks exploring and recording patterns that make you feel stressed.
Create a personal roadmap for stress relief
When you’ve identified your top stress inducers, it’s time to create an action plan to neutralize the negative effects stress can have on your health. Every journey will be different, but these five actions can play a big part in helping you climb out of the rabbit hole of stress:
Seek help when you need it
For most people, being mindful about what induces stress and employing coping strategies can make a huge impact. But sometimes you may need extra help. The UCLA Center for East-West Medicine offers both traditional and complimentary approaches for stress-related health concerns.
You can also contact UCLA Behavioral Health Associates (BHA) Specialty Care Network to tap into a network of psychiatrists, family therapists and clinical social workers.
Tags: behavioral health, Healthy Living, stress, stress coping strategies, stress factors, stress management, stress triggers, UCLA Behavioral Health Associates, UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, Wellness