4 Not-So-Obvious Side Effects Of Stress
Everyone likes to talk about stress reduction techniques, the dangers of stress and all sorts of related topics these days. We know the basic physical risks of stress, like fatigue and burn-out, and the more serious risks, like high blood pressure and heart disease. But what about the more complex emotional issues that can result from chronic stress?
“The Angriest Man in Brooklyn,” featuring the late, great Robin Williams, is an eye-opening depiction of how modern stress can take a profound toll on us. See if you can trace any of the following issues back to certain stressors in your day-to-day life.
It’s hard to doubt yourself or something you’re invested in when everything is going smoothly. But letting yourself get stressed can be a downfall in itself. For example, beginning a new relationship is typically exciting — you usually don’t feel any resistance or negativity about it. However, the more you worry about minor issues, the more doubt begins to creep in. When we’re stressed, we often get the impression that something must be wrong — otherwise we wouldn’t be stressed. But sometimes, stress itself is the primary culprit, causing us to doubt things that would otherwise work themselves out.
People who stress over social issues aren’t doing themselves any favors. Let’s assume that when you’re stressed, your nervous system is revved up, which is typically the case. This prevents you from behaving, speaking and thinking as you naturally would because much of your brain activity is already tied up. Your head could be spinning, or maybe you just feel a bit scattered. Either way, people can sense tension. They’ll have a harder time interacting with you, and they might even mistake your tension for rudeness or a lack of interest.
A little bit of stress is unavoidable in life, but constant stress can skew your outlook, creating an ongoing habit of negativity. Stress basically tells our bodies, “Something is wrong.” Even if that thing is insignificant, our bodies can’t tell the difference between serious and minor danger. Thus, constantly being under stress can train you to expect the worst, develop irrational fears and be closed off to new opportunities. We can accidentally force our minds into a loop of excessive negativity that never shuts off.
It may sound a little strange, but chronic stress can also give way to resentment. You might begin looking at other people whose lives are running more smoothly and feel resentful that your life is so jumbled. The thing that people in this situation often fail to recognize is that they can directly eliminate some of the stress in their lives, no matter how out of control it seems. Working overtime, giving all your time to help others or even berating yourself — these are all types of stress we can reduce or eliminate completely.
The most important thing to take away from these stress complications is that they can be avoided. If you’re already stuck in some of these patterns, it will take a lot of awareness and deliberate effort to pull yourself out. However, it is entirely possible if you stick with it. By eliminating the most stressful parts of your day, or even setting a time limit on them, you are making progress.