It is known that stress is not beneficial to a person’s wellness. Stress can lead to significant health concerns and chronic stress can decrease longevity if not addressed. Stress left unchecked can compromise the immune system leading to a higher rate of contracting the flu, common colds, and other ailments. Stress itself is a symptom, not a disease. Stress is produced by many things but anxiety is a major cause. Uncertainty or lack of confidence about the future creates a negative mental state and a feeling of being overwhelmed by responsibilities and demands.

How Stress Impacts Health

stress-864141_960_720When the body is under stress, the mind is continually attempting to manage the pressure by reverting to three basic reactions; fight, flight, or freeze. To put these reactions in motion hormones, such as adrenaline, are released. These hormones elevate the heart rate and prepare the body for response. Also, energy is summoned by changing the way sugars, proteins, and carbohydrates are utilized. If the threat is real, the body will return to normal once no danger is perceived. Because chronic stress does not go away, the body is continually releasing hormones and changing its metabolism. Sufferers from chronic stress are left with high blood pressure, heart disease, and weight gain as a result of the body’s defense against stress.

How Stress is Treated

The effect of stress on the body can be dealt with pharmaceutically or medically, but to treat stress itself the cause must be addressed. In the case of anxiety one treatment with positive results is increased mindfulness. Mindfulness is the process of establishing a mental state which prioritizes the present over the past or future. Much of anxiety is dependent on a person dwelling on the past or being consumed by worry about the future. Mindfulness teaches that being in the present is more important than what happens next, or what happened yesterday. By learning to manage the present through appreciation and enjoyment of each moment, anxiety can be reduced significantly. Once anxiety is lessened, chronic stress will subside.