Do you know the I-am-not-coping-feeling? The phone rings; a client is waiting outside; you have to call the bank NOW; in front of you is a pile of documents to be read and signed, in 35 minutes you have to be on the other side of town for a meeting… You just feel like running away, or even emigrating to another planet. All you want is a short break – just for a moment. Another phone call? Gosh, why does nobody EVER do what he or she is supposed to do? Don’t they see you are running around frantically? For what and for whom are you doing this anyway?
A medical doctor probably would say you are overstressed. He or she will tell you all about the cascades of hormones that flood your body when you are stressed. Adrenaline makes your heart beat faster; cortisol raises your sugar level. This is fine if you are about to miss a flight and adrenaline and cortisol prepare your body for a sprint in the departure hall or a dramatic plea with a flight attendant. But stress hormones circulating all the time, weaken your immune system. You will catch a cold easily and will be susceptible to terrible headaches, amongst other ailments.
Researchers at the University of California recently found that stress might even accelerate aging at the cellular level. The study found that the blood cells of women who had spent many years caring for a child with a health condition appeared to be, genetically, about ten years older than those of women who did not have these responsibilities. Although the study focused on caregivers, the findings apply to overworked employees and bosses too, the researchers say.
The good news is that stress as such is not a bad thing. Our health is dependent on how we perceive and react to stress.
How are you managing your stress levels? Do you exercise, eat correctly and rest a lot?