What is chronic stress?
As humans, our bodies are designed to react to stress as a means of protecting us from the various forms of threats, that early man encountered from predators and other aggressors. When the body is placed under stress, adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts your energy supplies. Cortisol is the main stress hormone which boost the glucose in the bloodstream, increases the brain’s use of glucose and the amount of matter that repair tissues. Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. It’s this detailed built-in alarm system which communicates with the areas of your brain that control mood, motivation and fear.
The types of stress we face each day has changed from those of early man to the numerous demands of modern living. Most people face the demands of raising a family, keeping up with technology, the pressure of social media, work stress and financial pressures, as well as a multitude of other tasks, which your body treats as a form of threat. As these ‘threats’ build up, the body can begin to feel the pressure of being continuously under assault and under a permanent state of stress.
Most people describe stress as a feeling of being constantly overwhelmed, tired or worried. It’s an uncomfortable emotional experience which affects our physical and behaviour health. If you are constantly in a state of overwhelm, accompanied by nagging headaches, insomnia and becoming less productive in your life, you may be suffering from chronic stress.
What are the symptoms of chronic stress?
Long-term stress can not only affect your body, but also your emotions, mindset and behaviour. The signs and symptoms of chronic stress can include the following:
- Sleep issues
- Muscle tension or pain
- Chest pain
- Extreme tiredness
- Lack of sex drive
- Stomach upset
- Lack of motivation or focus
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Irritability or anger
- Sadness or depression
Chronic stress can also lead to changes in your behaviour as you try and compensate from the effects on your body and emotions: leading to mood swings, social withdrawal, the desire to exercise less, comfort eat and or to increase your consumption of alcohol or recreational drugs. Your ability to recognise the common symptoms associated with chronic stress will help you become more proactive in your stress management plan.
Left unchecked, chronic stress can contribute to many health problems, such as depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
How common is chronic stress?
It has been estimated that approximately 75 percent of Australians have experienced levels of stress which have negatively impacted their physical health, with around 64 percent of people admitting to stress impacting their mental wellbeing. Research has shown that there is an association between both acute and chronic stress and a person’s abuse of addictive substances.
Untreated chronic stress can lead to serious depression. Depressive illness has become very common – with about 17 percent of Australians suffering from depression at some point in their life. Depression is twice as common in women as in men. The most common time in life for people to suffer from depression is in their 40s. However, it can develop at any age. Depression is often associated with an increased incidence of suicide. The annual suicide rate for people with depression is three or four times higher than that of other psychiatric disorders.
What are the causes of chronic stress?
Everyone reacts differently to daily stress factors or stressful events. How a person will react to the stressors in their life is determined by factors such as:
- Genetics: The genes that control the stress response keep most people fairly balanced, only occasionally preparing the body for fight or flight. Overactive or underactive stress responses may stem from slight differences in these genes.
- Life experiences: Strong stress reactions sometimes can be traced to traumatic events. People who were neglected or abused as children tend to be particularly vulnerable to stress. The same is true of people who have experienced violent crime, airplane crash survivors, experienced war or combat, police officers and firefighters.
You probably know many people who seem very relax and are difficult to upset, while others appear to be highly stressed and react over the most minor issues. Most people’s reactions to the stresses of life fall somewhere between those extremes.
Brain Training for chronic stress
At Brain Training Australia™ we off Neurofeedback Brain Training for clients opting for a safe, natural and drug-free approach for clients struggling with chronic stress to retrain your brain activity.
Ready to work with us? Next Steps
Your first step is to get in touch.
All new clients receive a free, complementary and no obligation 15-minute face to face consult with a dedicated member of our team. If you’re on the fence, wondering if Neurofeedback Brain Training is right for you, then this is a really good place to start.
If you are ready to get started then you can just book in your First Appointment and get started straight away.
Our team at Brain Training Australia™ recognise the unique qualities of all our clients and will work closely with you to personalise your Brain Training Program so that you can achieve your goals of optimal mental processes. We look forward to helping you live a much richer, happier and healthier life.