Life tends to become more stressful with each passing year. The impact of stress can pose serious challenges to your health and happiness. Much of our stress is the result of habits that have a negative impact on our lives. We create our own stress and become less capable of dealing with it effectively.
Habits save time and are similar to the autopilot feature found in commercial aircrafts. By relying on our habits, we free up our minds for other tasks.
While it’s easy to see how diet and exercise habits can influence our waistline, it’s a little more challenging to accept the idea that our habits can either create stress and misery or promote relaxation and harmony.
But habits can do exactly that.
Marilu Henner said, “Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life.”
There are two types of stress: eustress and distress.
Eustress is good, positive stress. Working toward goals or taking a vacation can be stressful but in a positive way.
However, when most of us talk about stress, we’re referring to distress.
Let’s look at the negative impact stress can have on your health:
1. Stress can lead to weight gain. Studies have shown that high levels of stress frequently reduce the desire to exercise. Stress also has a negative effect on the ability or desire to make healthy food choices.
- Excess weight is dangerous, especially because it can lead to a variety of serious medical conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and sudden death.
- If you’re struggling with your weight, consider the amount of stress in your life.
2. Stress can disrupt your sleep. If you’ve ever noticed what a lack of sleep can do to your mood, it’s easy to imagine what it does to your body. When you’re stressed, it can be difficult to fall and stay asleep. Your body and mind need the restoration provided by sufficient sleep.
3. Stress increases the likelihood of serious illness. High levels of stress have been shown to result in a higher prevalence of serious illnesses.
- Societies and professions with high levels of stress tend to experience the poorest health.
4. Stress has a negative impact on your immune system. Physical and emotional stressors have a detrimental effect on immune system function. This not only makes you more susceptible to catching a cold or other mild illnesses, but it also increases the risk of cancer. Your immune system plays a vital role in the destruction of cancerous cells.
Stress is a powerful force that has an undesirable impact on your physical health. Decreasing the amount of stress in your life greatly enhances your overall health and chances for longevity. Creating positive habits can help to minimize stress.
Stress also influences your happiness and sense of well-being:
1. Stress can negatively affect your mood. Stress is believed to be a leading cause of depression. We’ve all had that feeling of being trapped and miserable during times of excessive or chronic stress.
- It’s difficult to have a positive outlook toward the future if stress is a big part of your life.
2. Stress can negatively affect your relationships. Whether it arises from money, parenting, work, family issues, or other personal situations, stress can make relationships much more difficult to manage.
Stress and happiness rarely go together. Reducing your stress will likely lead to greater peace, harmony, and happiness.