Stress is a universal human experience. While a moderate amount of stress is important to our growth, learning, and adaptation, stress is generally viewed as an experience to be avoided. This is because we are more aware of stress when it becomes difficult to deal with it.
As health and wellness coaches, you will likely be aware of your clients’ stress levels and how they affect their overall well-being. When talking to your clients about stress, it can be helpful to talk about specific effects of stress on aspects of their mental and physical health, such as mood and energy levels.
This article discusses ten different ways stress affects our mood and energy levels, and provides tangible resources to support your client in managing stress.
What exactly is stress?
Stress is the word we usually use to refer to the feeling we get when our bodies experience a stress response. The stress response is the way our bodies respond to stress. Stressors can include things like deadline, uncertainty, perceived threat, unexpected changes, health risks, divorce or separation, and countless more.
Stress can be categorized in different ways; It can be categorized as the location of stress in the body or the length of time a person is exposed to stress.
Regarding the stress site, the There are two main types of stress Psychosocial (mental) stress and physiological (physical) stress.
- physiological stress, or physical stress, refers to an unpleasant or painful experience associated with possible damage to body tissues or a threat to your life. Conditions such as pain, starvation, and oxidative stress caused by exposure to toxins are causes of physiological stress. Depending on our awareness of physiological stress and its effect on our health, it can also cause psychosocial stress.
- Psychological stress Also known as mental or emotional stress, It results in social threat situations, such as social exclusion, achievement-related stress, negative emotions, and goal-directed performance. If psychosocial needs are not met, psychosocial stress may result. Oftentimes, this is referred to as anxiety.
The other way to classify stress is the length of time it is present.
- acute tension It is a short-term fatigue that lasts from a few hours to a few days. This type of stress is a natural, basic experience for humans and other organisms to identify new or dangerous situations, respond in the best possible way, and learn from experience.
- chronic anxiety It is stress that lasts for several weeks or months. In this case, levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, are constantly high, which has many negative effects on the body and mind. Chronic stress is usually caused by Trauma and adverse childhood events.
You can read more about the science of stress response over here.
The relationship between stress level and health
It is important to note that the intensity of your stress response, no matter how long you are in, can negatively affect your mental and physical state. High stress can leave you feeling disoriented, unresponsive and exhausted, even if it is felt for a few minutes or hours.
If you feel extreme stress levels for long periods of time, you may increase your risk of developing the disease.
The Yerkes Dodson’s Law Describes the inverted U-shaped relationship between performance and stress levels. With low to moderate stress levels, performance improves. When stress levels are too high to manage, performance declines. Chronic physiological or psychological stress can lead to fatigue and illness.
How is stress related to disease? High levels of stress Immune system malfunction. It may overreact when it isn’t, causing autoimmune disease to develop, and it may not protect your body from disease-causing viruses and bacteria. The result of both disease.
The effect that chronic stress can have on illness and disease is worrisome, but in general, we are more aware of our daily mood and energy levels. Every day we want to be productive, we want to have energy levels that allow us to complete daily activities, and we want to feel happy or at peace while doing so.
As mentioned earlier and as shown in the chart above, moderate levels of stress can improve our health and wellness. The term for this is eustress. It helps us feel motivated and focused, which is often when creativity and problem-solving abilities reach their peak.
However, if a person begins to experience excessive stress, not only will his performance level decrease, but his mood and energy levels will also decrease. The person no longer exists eustressbut instead distress.
5 ways extreme stress or stress affects your mood
Here are five ways emotional or mental stress can lead to Negative effect on mood:
- More emotional than usual You may notice that you are more sensitive or have less patience. Some people also experience the opposite reaction and become stoic when they are in very stressful situations.
- I feel tired: You may feel that you are unable to take any action and that your feelings are large, presented and centered. When you feel overwhelmed, you may want to stop completely, cry or scream.
- feeling nervous When you are under extreme stress, your blood suffers from it High levels of cortisol. Your body and mind are in “fight or flight” mode. Naturally, this will make you nervous and ready to respond accordingly in the face of perceived danger, whether it be another task or something to distract you from meeting the deadline.
- Feeling confused or having difficulty keeping track of things: Your mind focuses on why you’re stressed, which makes it hard to think of other responsibilities. You might find yourself making a sandwich while pausing to answer an email and looking after your child, then forgetting where you left the bread for the sandwich.
- sense of hesitation This affects your ability to solve problems, focus, or get your work done.
5 ways that affect your energy levels
Stress is tested both physically and mentally. Feeling stressed or constantly stressed out can have a noticeable effect on your energy levels. For many people, stress can make it difficult to stay alert during the day and sleep at night; This combination causes a cycle that affects your sleep cycle, called circadian rhythm.
Here are five ways stress can affect your energy levels.
- Heaviness in your chest, increased heart rate, or chest pain. This can make it difficult for you to do physical activities and exercise if you have already rushed before you start.
- daytime fatigue If you are very stressed, you may feel sleepy during the day, even when you are in the middle of an important task. Drowsiness can be your body’s way of giving itself a break, even if you don’t intend to.
- Increased risk of infection depression. People who suffer from chronic stress are more likely to develop depression. Depression can lead to lethargy and an unwillingness to stay active.
- Lots of lethargy. Brief episodes of stress or moderate levels of stress often boost your energy levels. However, if you suffer from constant stress or chronic stress, you are likely to feel lethargic, wanting to remain inactive or “lazy” for most of the day.
- fatigue: a recent study Involving more than 7,000 adult workers, they found that work-related stress was significantly associated with burnout. Fatigue is physical exhaustion, no matter what activities you have done. You may feel like you’re recovering from running a marathon, even if you haven’t been active for several days or weeks.
Resources to help you and your clients manage stress
Below is a list of AFPA and non-AFPA resources that you can use to support your clients in managing stress.
Everyone’s stress threshold, or the amount of stress they perceive as manageable, is different. For example, people who work in highly stressful jobs, such as emergency room doctors, military or security personnel, may have developed a higher stress threshold out of necessity. At the same time, they are often more prone to fatigue and collapse. You or your client may experience significantly greater stress due to personal circumstances, such as financial stress, a separation, divorce, loss of a loved one, or a legal battle.
Extreme stress or distress is common, but it affects aspects of your health and wellness, such as your mood and energy levels. The good news is that there are ways to prevent some types of stress, as well as techniques to help manage stress so it doesn’t become overwhelming. Save this article or share it with your client to gain a deeper understanding of stress and how it affects your well-being and find ways to manage it effectively.