Chronic stress is constant stress over an extended period of time. It is persistent and debilitating. Chronic stress can lead to serious health problems that cause more stress. Learning how to manage your stress is vital to making sure your stress does not reach the chronic level.
Chronic Stress Risks
Your initial stress can originate from anywhere. Finding the source can help you to stop stress from turning into chronic stress. Chronic stress can cause both psychological and physical problems. Your mental health declines when under stress for too long. You may develop problems such as depression, anxiety, and some personality disorders. Some mental health disorders lead to physical health problems. For example, eating disorders can cause you to be underweight or obese.
The physical long term implications of stress can affect different parts of your body. Your heart health is the main target of chronic stress. It can lead to cardiovascular disease that includes high blood pressure, abnormal heart beat rhythms, stroke, heart attacks and heart disease. If you are a female, your menstrual cycle can be disrupted by stress. Sexual dysfunction that includes impotence or premature ejaculation can affect men. Chronic stress can also decrease sexual desire in both women and men.
Other Long Term Problems
- Your skin and hair are affected by chronic stress. You may develop psoriasis, eczema, acne and permanent hair loss. On a normal day, a person can lose 100 hairs. If the person is dealing with stress, stress induced hair loss can increase that amount to half or three-quarters of your hair.
- Digestive health also declines with chronic stress. GERD, ulcerative colitis, irritable colon and gastritis are results of chronic stress.
Managing Chronic Stress
Do not wait. When your stress latest longer than a couple of weeks, it is time to take action before you develop chronic stress. Finding ways to reduce your overall stress is the best way to prevent chronic stress. You can alleviate chronic stress by improving your lifestyle and behavior choices.
Here are a few suggestions.
You have limits. Know them and do not stress yourself out by trying to stretch them. Make a list of all the projects and commitments you currently have. What are the most important ones? Tackle them first. Can you delegate the non-essential ones? Do not add any commitments until you have dealt with prior commitments.