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.
To address chronic stress, consider the following measures:
- Exercise to create an anti-inflammatory response
- Connect with people around you to promote relaxation and distraction
- Learn a new skill or take up a course – education improves cognitive reserve
- 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.