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How stress kills by affecting the brain, body, heart and mind

How stress kills by affecting the brain, body, heart and mind

The before and after pictures of how Barack Obama has changed physically in just 8 years of being the President reveal a shocking reality. And the images give us no idea of what the high-pressure job may have done to him internally.

Beware of the un-charismatic effects of a charismatic job!

Eighty percent of a human’s life involves working. We are always working towards something, whether it is a degree, a job, anything.

Being a student, I feel pressured to achieve good grades a number of times in my studies. I can only imagine the pressure I will experience when I will have a job and a whole company relying on me. Work pressure causes a great amount of stress and that can take a toll on anyone, no matter how young or old.

Stress takes a toll not only on your body, but also on your mind. It weakens you mentally and holds you back from being able to think straight. This affects your work and makes you perform badly.

How Stress is killing working professionals

It makes your mind unorganized and you lose the ability to work to your utmost capacity, which causes major insomnia and depression. When both strike together on the same person, there is a significant possibility of it resulting in death, from heart failure or sometimes even suicide.

A Yale University study showed that chronic stress or long-term stress could actually reduce brain volume. So if you are stressed out all the time, your brain might just shrink, as funny as it sounds.

Among its many effects, lower brain volume can lead to impaired cognition and hampered emotional function. These are serious mental problems that cannot be overlooked. Seventy percent visits to doctors are regarding stress-related problems.

Most of the time, people under stress do not realize how dangerous it is. They continue to do their jobs thus putting more stress on themselves, with no idea about its side effects.

Stressing about something for days together causes problems to pile up in your head, which results in even more stress.

Studies have shown that too much stress over time can exhaust you, accelerate the aging process, harm your immune system, and even shrink vital brain tissue resulting in memory loss and problems with concentration.

It is important to express yourself so that you let go of this stress little by little instead of making it pile up on yourself more with every passing day.

Chronic stress also causes heart problems- it contributes to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular problems such as heart failure, sudden cardiac death and heart enlargement.

Then again, acute stress or short-term stress could be even more dangerous than chronic stress. When you are faced with pressure in a situation and it causes a great amount of stress to you, you might just get so stressed out that your brain cannot take it. This is why acute stress is the leading cause of sudden death. People are faced with situations so stressful that their body is unable to function and gives up.

Sometimes when work gets too hectic, some people “turn to the dark side” and engross themselves in harmful consumption of drugs and alcohol. This results in change in behavior and it slowly kills their brain cells, doing no good to their already stressful lives.

In this case, stress is indirectly killing them. It is their excuse to escape from the stress hence they do it. It does not serve any purpose to consume alcohol and drugs extensively as it only worsens the situation and makes it harder for one to focus on their work.

In extreme cases, it can lead to self-harm and destructive behavior, which is not only bad for the person himself but also for the people around them.

And in a lot of cases, for example, in the entertainment industry (actors, rock stars, etc.), due to stress from all the shows and concerts, they tend to give in to drugs and alcohol. I cannot stop thinking of names of people who have died from over-consumption of such substances, due to depression and stress.

Kill stress before it kills you: Stress Management Tips

One should avoid over-working and most importantly, get enough sleep. When we are asleep, that is the only time our body gets to rest.

During the day, we are up and about, running around getting stuff done so give a few hours for your body to rest and be ready for the next day, which will leave you feeling more energized.

To get your mind active, you can pick up something to read or listen to music. This will relax your mind and gives you time to gather your thoughts and think fresh.

To make sure you don’t starve yourself from stress, a good habit would be to keep an alarm to take a 15-minute break during work to have a healthy meal, which will also give you time to rest your thoughts and give yourself a break from work.

Talking to family or friends about the issues you are facing at work is a great way to release built-up stress. The idea is to be able to talk to someone who understands what you are going through and supports you through it. It gives you a feeling of relief and you have a newfound motivation to work, knowing that you have someone who relates with you and this way, your stress levels are reduced.

It is important to realize how much stress is affecting your life before it completely takes it over and you are left feeling helpless at its mercy. We must learn to balance our work with our personal lives so that there is harmony in our lives and we don’t find ourselves drowning in work and thus our mind and body slowly giving up on us.

Looking at every stressful situation in a relaxed manner frees you of half the stress you otherwise would have experienced. Life is all about how you see it, so let’s keep a positive attitude and get to work!

References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 | Image source: The Independent

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Archana Kayarat
About Archana Kayarat
Archana is currently a 2nd year communication student in Manipal who enjoys the occasional euphoria of extreme adventure sports, attains nirvana getting lost in books, has a fur-raising obsession with animals and aspires to be the cat lady when she grows up.

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