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Sources of Stress & How You Can De-Stress Your Life

Stress Defined

Stress is defined as emotional struggle experienced when we encounter adverse or demanding circumstances.  Stress can encroach into our lives in two different ways: externally or internally. More often, stress is determined to be a combination of both.

  • External stresses are those things that tend to be out of our control; for example, financial situations, trauma, environment and job-related.
  • Internal stress is more personal and can be more easily controlled, compared to external stress. A few examples are personal goals, attitude, perceptions and desires versus needs.

Stress is our bodies’ way of telling us that there is change happening in our personal, work or natural environments. What more often happens is since our bodies are not used to the change, the stress overcomes our attitudes and perceptions.

External stress can creep into internal stress because our minds are constantly bouncing between the two and there tends to be overlap. If there is job-related stress, it is hard to leave it at the office and it is often brought home. By bringing the external stress home, it is encroaching in a positive environment and will most likely create internal stress with modified perceptions of home-life.

There are certain ways to cope with external and internal stress that will lead you to living a more positive, stress-free life, whether it is at home or in another environment. It is recommended that both types of stress be handled in natural, soothing and positive ways. Some examples to change the stress in your life include, exercise, talking through what exactly makes you feel stressed, learn to cook, and meditate. While this list may be short, there are several more, personal, options that can help you live a stress-free life.


Stress Response

There are two stress response systems: SAM (sympathetic adrenal medulla) and HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal activation). SAM regulates short-term stress. When SAM is activated, the adrenal medulla releases adrenaline; adrenaline then increases heart rate, elevates blood sugar, and suppresses the immune system. Long-term stress has an effect on cognitive performance, suppresses thyroid function, causes blood sugar imbalances, reduces bone density, decreases muscle tissue, raises blood pressure, increases one’s risk for cardiovascular disease. Long-term stress is managed by the HPA to prevent your body from destructing itself. Both types of stress put your body under an immense amount of pressure, which leads to different effects on your internal systems.


Cross-Stressor Adaptation Model

The Cross-Stressor Adaptation Model proposes that a stressor of appropriate intensity, such as exercise, will positively impact the stress response system. Exercise is believed to decrease the magnitude of the stress response and improving the response to new stressors. Additionally, an active body recovers quicker from emotional stress and experiences lower heart rates, blood pressure, and levels of stress hormones than that of an inactive body. This information suggests that exercise could be used as a tool for stress management, in addition to other lifestyle changes.


How Healics Can Help

Whether you are a company of two or 10,000, Healics can team with you to develop comprehensive wellness and coaching programs that help your employees diminish their stress.

Call us at 1-800-HEALICS today or contact us now to discuss health coaching solutions and ways you can provide your staff with the resources they need to live healthier, happier, more vibrant lives.