Everyone deals with stress at some point in their lives. It’s a regular part of your bodily function, and you couldn’t get rid of it even if you wanted to.

While each of us deals with varying levels of stress throughout our lives, we also deal with a varying ability to handle the stress we face.

If you’re finding yourself less able to handle the stress daily life throws at you, or if your stress is lasting for far longer than any specific stressful event, it may be a sign of a deeper issue.

Here at Mahaya Health, we can help.

What Exactly Is Stress?

Stress isn’t an easy thing to define, partially because of its subjective nature. In general, it’s a physiological response to changes in situation. This response can manifest in a physical, emotional, or mental way.

But what’s happening physiologically?

When you experience stress, your body releases hormones to help you cope. These hormones include cortisol and adrenaline, both of which are released by your adrenal glands, causing your heart to beat faster, your muscles to tighten, and your senses to become sharper.

This is a perfectly normal, healthy process.

What Is Chronic Stress?

Unfortunately, your nervous system reacts to physical stress and emotional stress in the same way. This is why we sometimes feel physically unsafe when faced with a stressor that doesn’t present a physical danger, like an impending deadline.

Because modern life comes with so many different sources of potential stress, our stress response becomes triggered more frequently. And the more frequently it’s triggered, the easier it becomes to trigger in the future, and the harder it is to shut down when the trigger has passed.

The stress response is designed to reduce the function of some of your body’s processes that aren’t immediately necessary for your survival. This includes your immune, reproductive, and digestive systems. In an individual situation, this is good. It’s helpful if you need to get away from a sabre tooth tiger. But if these systems are suppressed for a longer period of time, it can cause significant problems.

Chronic stress has been linked with a number of significant health concerns, including:

Symptoms Of Chronic Stress 

If you’re dealing with chronic stress, you may be feeling some of these common symptoms:

  • Jaw soreness due to clenching
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension in upper body & head
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Excess sweating, especially in the palms
  • Cold sweats
  • Trembling hands
  • Aches and pains
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Tachycardia
  • Appetite changes
  • Unexpected weight changes

Who Gets Stressed?

In general, stress can affect anyone. However, certain populations are known to be more prone to chronic stress than others.

A study from Statistics Canada  shows that as of 2018, 21% of Canadians considered their daily lives to be “quite a bit” or “extremely” stressful. That number was highest with 29.4% in the 35-49 year old bracket.

In general, women are more likely than men to report a stress-related disorder. Though it isn’t clear whether this is because women are in general more likely to report a health condition than men.

Chronic stress is, not surprisingly, more common in those who lead high-stress lives. This may include a lifestyle involving:

  • Chronic illness
  • Financial troubles
  • Sleep deprivation
  • A high-stress job
  • An unstable career or job loss
  • School difficulties
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Bullying, either physical or emotional/verbal
  • Care for a chronically ill loved one
  • Loss

Natural Solutions For Chronic Stress 

There is no cure for stress, because stress isn’t a health condition. It’s a normal part of your body’s function.

However, there are ways to manage your chronic stress. The practitioners at Mahaya Health can help.

The first step is to uncover the root of what’s causing your chronic stress in the first place.

In some cases, it may be a high-stress lifestyle, or a particularly difficult period in your life. In this case, you may benefit from individual treatments designed to help you relax and reduce stress, like acupuncture or registered massage therapy.

In others, it may be your general outlook on life. If you’re generally pessimistic, have perfectionist tendencies, are inflexible, or have difficulty saying no to requests, it may trigger chronic stress. Psychotherapy can help you understand the factors that led you to feel the way you do. From there, it can help you develop healthier coping mechanisms to deal with the stress of life.

It may also be linked with an underlying health condition, like adrenal fatigue, hyperthyroidism, and certain respiratory disorders. In this case, you may benefit from treatment from a naturopathic doctor, osteopathic manual practitioner, or physiotherapist.

Chronic stress can be a difficult thing to live with, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

The goal is not to eliminate all stress from your life – that’s impossible. However, there are natural treatments which may help you better cope with the stress in your life.

Whatever it is that’s causing your stress, we’ll work to uncover it and put together a treatment plan designed to address those causes.

Start building a healthier life in body and in mind.