35% of Australians feel significantly stressed, and a quarter experience anxiety and depression symptoms. This leads to risky behaviours (a majority of those feeling distress drink, gamble or smoke) and acute physical symptoms, such as headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, heartburn and abdominal pain.

But chronic stress, if not dealt with and adequately processed, can lead to long term detrimental consequences that can a significant impact on longevity and health. These consequences include:

  • Chronic inflammation, which contributes to diabetes and heart disease
  • Burnout and cognitive failure at study or work
  • Impaired emotions and irrational thought, in addition to depression and anxiety
  • Depressed immunity and body aches
  • Erectile dysfunction, loss of periods, reduced fertility and impaired libido

This is an important topic as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. Symptoms of chronic stress include:

  • Headaches
  • Helplessness
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness or panic
  • Low self esteem and confidence
  • Fatigue or aches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Gut issues or loss of appetite
  • Frequent infections

To address chronic stress, adopt the following measures right away:

  • Exercise daily to create an anti-inflammatory response and increase endorphins
  • Connect with people around you to promote relaxation and distraction – social interaction works
  • Learn a new skill or take up a course – education improves cognitive reserve
  • Improve your sleep – adequate hours and quality rest mitigates stress
  • Practise mindfulness, meditation or diaphragmatic breathing
  • Participate in activities that involve muscle tensing or stretching e.g. yoga, tai chi or pilates

Talk to your Osana Health Assistant, GP or psychologist if you feel stressed and would like tips on how to manage it. Also join our relaxation and meditation classes held weekly.

References:

  • https://neurosciencenews.com/chronic-stress-reversal-15918/
  • https://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/stress-and-wellbeing-in-australia-report.pdf
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body#4
  • https://www.hsj.gr/medicine/stress-management-techniques-evidencebased-procedures-that-reduce-stress-and-promote-health.php?aid=3429
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323324
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