The present situation of the country right now could be overwhelming. Apart from the coronavirus outbreak, people are currently engaging in protests to put an end to racism. If you’ve been noticing some changes in your body and your ability to think, chances are you could be battling stress due to the chaotic things happening at present.
Stress isn’t actually that bad. Psychologists say that there is “good stress” or “eustress” — the type we feel when we are excited or happy. We experience this when we enjoy a roller coaster ride or go on a first date, as per Verywell Mind.
However, there is also the bad type of stress called chronic stress. It is potentially dangerous since it could disrupt your normal routine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says chronic stress could actually kill your quality of life and even put you at risk of developing certain conditions.
Before diving deeper into chronic stress, you first need to understand what makes it different from and why it is more dangerous than acute stress. By definition, acute stress is short-term stress. This is the one we experience when we get stuck in traffic, engage in arguments and receive criticisms from our boss. The stress we suffer in these cases are only there for a short period of time. On the other hand, chronic stress is long-term and is most usually rooted in real world problems.
Experts say that many people in the U.S. are prone to experiencing chronic stress right now seeing how the country has been paralyzed by the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, the social unrest that erupted due to the killing of George Floyd could also trigger this type of stress.
Dr. Axe has listed the different signs and symptoms of chronic stress to help us identify if we are currently experiencing this condition and in order for us to know what we should do about it. According to the natural medicine doctor and clinical nutritionist, the following are the signs and symptoms of chronic stress:
- Reduced ability to concentrate and act efficiently
- Weakened immune system
- Increased inflammatory responses
- Tendency to abuse substances like tobacco, alcohol and drugs
- Food addiction and stress eating
- More instances of feeling pain on the neck, back, joints and muscles
- Metabolic dysfunction that could lead to weight gain
- Trouble sleeping
- Feelings of helplessness and lack of control
- Not being able to make decisions or plan things for the future
- Skin and hair conditions like rashes, eczema and hair loss
- In women, periods become irregular
- Reduced sexual desire
If you are experiencing one or more of these signs and symptoms, the best way to counter chronic stress is to seek help from a doctor who can perform tests to identify the underlying causes of your problem. This way a holistic treatment plan can be administered. Another way is to ask help from a therapist who can teach you strategies on how to manage stress.