You might be a student anxious about his/her exam, a single mother trying to raise her kids, or just an average human hoping to survive 2020 – but we all have one thing in common. We all live our days attempting to overcome the effects of stress and fear on our bodies! Stress and anxiety are the two most evil and toxic hormones ever to take control of our bodies. And you know what the worst thing about these hormones is? Literally almost every single human being living on this planet suffers from their effects! The Earth is home to 7.8 billion people as of 2020, and we estimate about 7 billion people undergo stress! Well, that’s not exact; but this year sure has us feeling like that. This year has a pretty nice combo of both stress and fear to keep us on our toes. But you have to know that the effects of stress and fear could seriously take a massive toll on both your physical and mental health. Thus, it is crucial to under what stress and fear mean and what they could do to you. Moreover, you have to understand how to manage and deal with them too.
Part 1: The Definition of Stress and Fear
First, we have to explain what stress and fear mean.
Stress is how your body reacts to horrible situations that might not look or sound so bad. You might not even notice it, but your body sure does. Believe it or not, stress is actually a chemical that your body produces – like a defense mechanism – to help cope with difficult situations—ever heard of the fight-or-flight reaction? That’s what your body relies on when you are in a stressful situation. All of a sudden, your heart rate skyrockets, breathing accelerates, and your muscles tighten up. This happens so that you could handle the stress coming your way. Stress could even raise your blood pressure! But, stress is not one size fit for all! It comes in many different forms. It could come in the form of a problematic exam you have to study for, making sure your kids get to school on time, working double shifts, or managing your financial problems. Each person goes through stress differently. Furthermore, each person handles stress differently. For some people, stress is right for them – when it comes in small doses. Stress could help you work faster and more efficiently, and even help get things done! We were made to withstand these small doses that come now and then. But, when it happens often, and for a long time, stress becomes dangerous!
And what about fear? You can not live your whole life without feeling scared at least once in your lifetime – if you’re lucky, that is. You feel fear from watching a horror movie, seeing a spider, or maybe even standing on the top of a very high building. Each person has his or her different kind of fear. If you think of it, fear is the reason why human beings are not extinct. In reality, it’s a survival instinct. Fear for life is the primary primal inane instinct, but nowadays, it’s not that apparent unless we’re faced with a life-threatening situation – like the year 2020. But sometimes fear clings to you and creates chronic anxiety that is very harmful to your body. Your heart beats faster, and your heart rate increases rapidly. Even your blood sugar and blood pressure spike! So, the takeaway here is that if you live in constant fear, you become incapacitated and unable to move on with your life!
Thus, you must truly understand the effects of stress and fear on your body to learn how to live!
Part 2: The Effects of Stress and Fear
To properly establish whether or not your body is going through the effects of stress and fear, you have first to know the symptoms. Stress and fear may not be like the common cold, or chickenpox – you can’t see obvious physical symptoms. But, both do have substantial physical and psychological symptoms that affect your body in the long-term, just like any other disease. And, in the long-term, these symptoms lead to detrimental effects on your body – on every part of your body! So, we’ll teach you how to pinpoint these symptoms, learn about the effects of stress and fear, and, finally, deal with them.
Effects of Stress
Stress has countless and endless symptoms that people might brush-off easily or just get used to them with time. But, you should never ignore symptoms of stress. Stress affects your emotional status, mental health, and physical health.
Emotional & Behavioral Status Change:
- Social distancing (aren’t we all?)
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Mood changes
- Panic attacks
- Digestion issues
- Muscle tension
- Teeth grinding
- Loss of libido
- Loss of energy
- Change in appetite
- Constantly forgetting things
- Decreased focus
- Non-stop worrying
If you experience any of these symptoms, you probably have chronic stress, so you have to start thinking about management initiatives. The effects of stress and fear ultimately show up in the long run. Stress causes psychological problems like depression, anxiety, and possible personality disorders. It all becomes overwhelming, and your brain won’t be able to handle it anymore. We aren’t built to handle stress on the daily! Set aside the mental issues; stress affects your heart! You could develop heart disease, blood pressure, and even get a stroke or heart attack! You’ll start losing your hair, gaining/losing weight, might even developing a stomach ulcer.
It’s exhausting! Don’t let yourself get to this point. Seek medical help ASAP if you experience any of the symptoms we mentioned before!
Effects of Fear
Fear, in itself, is a scary emotion. It takes hold of your body and life without even noticing. Of course, by fear, we don’t mean the random jolts of fear you experience every now and then. Those are healthy doses of fear that your body is equipped to handle and deal with. We mean the fear that stays with you and haunts you every day. The emotion that has you frequently on the verge of a full-blown panic attack. This is very common with people who have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). You go through a horrible experience, and it stays with you. So, fear brings stress to it. Stress and fear are two sides of the same coin. This is why fear symptoms are pretty much the same as stress, but fear brings a little extra to the table.
Long-term fear affects your cardiovascular system and therefore causes heart problems. This is both sad and ironic. You live in fear for your life, but you could ultimately cause your premature death! Chronic fear also weakens your immune system, so you become prone to viruses and bacteria! You’ll have gut, fertility, and memory issues. You’ll be focused only on the fear itself, and forget to live. Your fear will kill you one way or another if you don’t learn to overcome it.
Part 3: Manage the Effects of Stress and Fear
Don’t worry. You are not alone. We can help you get over this. You just have to have the motivation to do it. Do it for yourself and those you love! You have to take the first step towards recovery and living life to the fullest. You deserve to have some peace of mind! So, what can you do?
- Get your blood pumping with some exercise! Make some time for physical activity. It’ll take your mind off things that worry you or scare you. You’ll grow more robust. It will give your mind a break and let your body take control!
- How about some yoga? Yoga is an exercise for the mind, body, and soul. You can take up meditation on your own. Just 5 minutes of your day reserved for breathing. Or get a massage! Pamper yourself!
- Spend time with people you love! Visit family and go out with your friends. Give your social life a chance to thrive.
- Take up a hobby. Read an excellent book or learn to paint. Maybe learn how to cook or grow a garden. Whatever suits you! The world is your oyster!
- Start eating healthy and sleep better! Healthy food makes a happy body, and that’s perfect for a more optimistic mindset!
- Talk to a specialist! There’s no shame in seeking professional help who you can talk to without worry about anything. Let is all out like some form of catharsis! You’ll feel much better when you could talk things out of your system.
The main thing you have to keep in mind, when managing stress, is: you have to make an effort. The effects of stress and fear don’t just go away easily. Do these things to relieve stress or fear. The effects of stress and fear won’t go away from surfing social media for a few hours. Even if you feel a little relaxed, you have to do something that you can continuously maintain!