When it comes to stress and mental health, multiple correlations have been made between the two. In this article we will examine the causes of stress, the mental health issues stress can precipitate and methods that highly stressed individuals can employ to manage the problem.
The Causes Of Stress and Mental Health Issues
Stress can be caused by a variety of personal, professional, financial or health-related issues:
- Personal Issues: Anxiety could be brought on by concern over the health and well-being of loved ones, personal health problems, involvement in a traumatic event, a major life change such as marriage or divorce or moving to a new place.
- Professional Issues: Professional tension may be the result of job security, work-related responsibilities, work-related harassment or unhappiness with the job itself.
- Financial Issues: Job loss, concern over how to pay for a child's college education or a poor economy can precipitate worry and anxiety.
Stress may lead to a variety of mental and emotional maladies that can impact a person's mood, feelings and, on occasion, the strength of their minds. Such conditions include:
When people are anxious or feeling added tension, their bodies may increase the production of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. In addition to posing numerous potential risks to the well-being of several internal systems, the central nervous can greatly be influenced by the rigors of stress.
The continual overproduction of substances like adrenaline and cortisol may eventually elicit a sedative effect on impacted individuals. Such a hormonal imbalance can create physical manifestations like diminished energy levels. Chronically low energy might lead to depression, potentially even major depressive episodes that render certain people unable to execute basic everyday functions.
Tension can cause those who are affected to experience excessive mood swings. Such individuals could express joy and cheerfulness one minute then be short-tempered, angry and nasty the next. Will mood fluctuations might precipitate significant relationship problems that could potentially lead to isolation. Isolated individuals could be at greater risk for developing an exacerbation of conditions like anxiety and depression.
In the short-term, the stress hormones released during periods of heightened tension could send the brain's memory sensors into overload, which can cause temporary memory disturbances. However, cortisol, when excessively secreted over extended durations, collects in the hippocampus (one of the brain's major memory centers). If left unchecked, this chemical process could ultimately lead to the deterioration of the brain's memory cells, as well as an impacted individual's long-term recollection abilities.
Continual periods of tension can result in a drastic alteration of an affected person's behavioral patterns. Chronic stress can place such a significant strain on the body and mind that stricken individuals often seek potentially destructive outlets to release this tension. It is not uncommon for highly stressed people to engage in possibly damaging activities such as fighting and other violent outbursts, alcohol and substance abuse, smoking, overeating, gambling or taking unnecessary, perhaps even dangerous risks.
Declining Cognitive Function
A 2015 study conducted by the Albert Einstein Medical School in New York examined how increased tension impacted older persons (aged 70 and above) for a period lasting more than three-and-a-half years. Researchers discovered that those exposed to higher levels of stress were two-and-a-half times more likely to develop what is scientifically referred to as amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (aMCI)impacting their ability to recall specific events and perform common functions.
Tips For Managing Stress
The key to avoiding stress-related mental health concerns may lie in limiting or avoiding stress as much as possible. Some ways to do so include:
Identifying The Triggers
Tension can be caused by a wide array of factors and circumstances. Identifying specific triggers such as where and when significantly increased levels of anxiety occur can be the first step in eliminating or curtailing the problem.
Practice Calming Techniques
When an excessively tense period or stressful event arises, an impacted individual might find relief by practicing specific calming techniques such as breathing exercises and positive self-talk.
Accept That Some Outcomes Cannot Be Influenced
Worry heightens tension manifold. People often express concern over issues they have no influence over. Simply by realizing that one cannot control every circumstance or outcome, his or her anxiety levels could drop precipitously.
Physical activity is a great method of releasing tension. When people exercise, their bodies secrete endorphins, which combat stress and improve mood. In addition, physical exertion may help prevent weight gain and high blood pressure (two common physical byproducts of stress).
Tension-filled lives do not always equate to restful periods of sleep. However, sleep enables the body to settle down naturally and the mind to clear.
Supplement With Adaptogens
Certain herbs termed "adaptogens" help the body to better deal with external stressors, while also supporting a healthy immune system. Taking a dietary supplement that provides adaptogenic herbs can help your body to better deal with the effects of everyday stress.