April 7, 2022

Long-Term Stress and You

Stress is often associated with rapid heartbeat, sweating and feelings of being overwhelmed with tasks and responsibilities. The brain and body respond to demands and stressors such as exercise, life changes, work and traumatic events. The lasting effects of long-term stress may contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Health concerns are only one reason to be concerned about the stressors felt in daily life.

Long-term Effects

Not all stress is bad stress. It motivates people to finish tasks or get ready for important events like interviews or tests. Stress is the body’s way of preparing for fight or flight. This results in tightened muscles and quickened breathing.

While stress can be helpful in certain situations, it’s essential to manage it to prevent long-term stress from occurring. Health problems arise when the body’s stress response is in effect for too long. Stress can cause poor sleep habits, digestive issues and weakened immune systems – leaving the body prone to viral infections.

Too much stress negatively affects job performance, increases medical costs, lost wages and decreases productivity. It also causes shorter attention spans and fatigue – resulting in workplace injuries and on-the-job accidents.

Stress Management

It’s essential to find good strategies for coping with stress to prevent it from causing further issues in life. When it becomes too much to handle, there are many options for managing stress. Regular exercise can help calm the mind, boost mood and allows time for reflection – easing stress on the body. Incorporating relaxation into daily life can also help reduce stress-related conditions.

Improving organizational and time management skills can help with an overwhelmed workload. Implementing these techniques can allow more time to destress while completing important tasks.

Many companies have implemented programs to address employees’ stress and mental health with Employee Assistance Programs (EAP).

An EAP gives employees access to professional counselors to help with the following:

  • Stress about work or job performance
  • Conflict resolution at work or in one’s personal life
  • Marital or relationship problems
  • Child or eldercare concerns
  • Financial worries
  • Mental health problems
  • Alcohol/substance abuse
  • Grief
  • Interpersonal conflicts

These programs allow for the exchange of confidential information – without worries of workplace retaliation.

Everyone feels stressed from time to time. Effective coping strategies are essential in recovering from stressors and preventing chronic stress. If chronic stress has become an issue in mental or physical health, talk to a health care provider for treatment options.