“I’m so stressed out.” We’ve all said it, and felt the effects of living it.
In our fast-paced, over-stimulated culture, we’re constantly pushing our brains and bodies to the limit. Too little sleep, exercise, and lack of a healthy diet only contribute to this feeling of anxiety, fatigue, and overwhelmedness.
You might be surprised to learn that feeling stress enabled humans’ successful evolution. Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand. Back in the hunter-gatherer days, our bodies would release stress-inducing chemicals into the blood so that we could either fight or flee when faced with a threat. Cortisol, a stress-induced hormone, can help boost energy and immunity, and even improve memory function in the short term. Once the threat was over, everything went back to normal.
Unfortunately, the stress we feel today isn’t brought on by a predator or the need to escape from physical entanglement. What we feel today is internal stress which comes from worry about things we can’t control. Some people even become addicted to the kind of hurried, tense, lifestyle that results from being under stress. They even look for stressful situations and feel stress about things that aren’t stressful.
Check out the infographic below to learn seven of the most common sources of internal stress, and some suggestions for how to de-stress your life before it kills you.
By Beth Buczynski
Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent.
Image via Thinkstock
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