What Happens When You’re Stressing?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Stressed woman

How do you feel when you’re stressed? Maybe you may feel overwhelmed or tense. Your heart beats faster and you sweat more. Maybe you get an upset stomach or headache. As you worry about your stressors, maybe you feel anxious or depressed. Does this sound like you?

When you’re stressed, your mind and body respond by:

  • Preparing for action
    You might find that your heart rate goes up, your breath becomes shallow, you sweat, or your face becomes flushed. This is your body’s way of getting ready to face the stressor head on.

  • Focusing on the stressor
    Once your body is activated, digestion slows down and thinking narrows to focus on the stressor at hand. This is not always a bad thing. For example, when facing a big work deadline, we might need a little energy to help us focus on getting the job done! 

  • Responding to stress
    If we become consumed by stress, this stress response system stays active. So over time, our tolerance for stress diminishes, and we are more easily triggered.

As the stressor keeps on going, you may want to find some way of getting away from it and reach for a cigarette. Smoking to cope with stress actually causes more stress than it relieves. In fact, studies show that stress levels go down after quitting. There are healthier ways to relax and deal with stress than smoking. So, it’s important to spend some time figuring out what works for you.



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