Physiological Symptoms of Stress
Stress can play havoc with your health, worsening or causing a host of physical ailments. A 2007 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that one-third of Americans are suffering from extreme stress. Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed reported experiencing physical symptoms related to stress. Effective stress management techniques are the key to reducing your stress level and maintaining good health.
Stress occurs when you feel threatened or overwhelmed. As your stress level rises, so does your heart rate and blood pressure. Your blood sugar level also soars in an attempt to provide your body with more energy in case you need to flee. Blood clotting occurs more quickly in order to prevent too much blood loss should you be injured. As your stress level rises, your large muscles begin to receive increased quantities of blood to provide more strength if you are attacked. While all of these things would be helpful if you were being chased by a mountain lion, your body does not distinguish between real and perceived threats and reacts the same way whether you’re facing an animal attack or an irate boss. If these responses become a daily part of your life, you may begin to experience health problems.
How Stress Causes Illness
When you are continually stressed, almost every system in your body is negatively impacted. Your immune system may become suppressed, causing you to catch viruses that you would normally be able to fight off. An elevated blood pressure level can greatly increase your risk of heart disease, heart attack or stroke. Feeling stressed can affect your ability to become pregnant. You may even notice that you starting to look older when you are under chronic stress.
Why look for ways to beat depression and anxiety if you’re feeling just fine? Good question! The truth is that everyone should be proactive about warding off negative emotions such as stress and unhappiness because they’re bound to sneak up on you if you don’t. Consider these three strategies for maintaining a peaceful and happy existence no matter what challenges life throws your way.
Pay It Forward
It’s easy to get caught up in our everyday lives and forget the needs of other people. We’re all guilty of it. With our busy work schedules, demanding family and social lives, and the never-ending to-do list, we’re lucky to have time to take care of ourselves, much less others, but did you know that doing unto others can have an equally positive effect on the giver as on the recipient? It’s true! Lending a helping hand simply feels good. Plus, paying it forward means that you’re due an act of kindness in the future-likely when you need it the most! Paying it forward doesn’t have to be complicated or even time-consuming. Do what you can when you can, and the rewards will quickly add up.
Schedule In Variety
Do you ever feel like you do the same things over and over again day after day? Many of us live by a schedule that can become painfully redundant if we’re not careful. Humans need to be exposed to different sights, scenes, and experiences, though. After all, there’s a reason they say variety is the spice of life! If you’re feeling like you’re in a rut, take the chance to change things up a bit. No matter how locked in your schedule appears, there are things you can do to introduce variety. Take a different route to work, for instance, or make a bigger change by picking up a new hobby or activity. When life becomes less boring, you’ll find that attempting to beat depression isn’t such an arduous feat after all.
When researching how to treat anxiety, you may have been advised to live in the moment and enjoy the present. While it’s true that being in the now can have a calming effect, it’s important to also plan ahead for a peaceful life. If you’re a chronic procrastinator or you find yourself always playing catch-up, then you can bet that stress will find its way to you, creating lots of unnecessary anxiety and mood swings. In order to beat depression and learn how to treat anxiety proactively, you need to get a handle on your schedule. This means applying good organization and time management skills to your everyday life. Ask yourself, “what can I do today to make tomorrow less stressful?”
It’s easy to get lazy during the calmer stretches of life. Resist the temptation, though! If you’re proactive about your personal development practice, then you’ll have the tools to beat depression and you’ll know how to treat anxiety when things get tough.
A “model” in the scientific realm provides a framework for investigating and evaluating a specific area of study. The Mayo Clinic defines a mental disorder as “a collective term that refers to all the different types of mental conditions, including those that affect your mood, your thinking and your behavior.” Models of mental disorder organize the complicated biological and environmental influences on mental health. The social model is increasingly important in the prevention of mental illness, whereas other models focus on the treatment of existing illness.
The models of mental disorder include the disease model, the psychodynamic model, the behavioral model, the cognitive model and the social model. All are relevant to overall mental health, but the social model focuses on environmental and relationship factors that cause mental distress that is difficult to cope with. Examples of environmental factors are abusive relationships, social stigmas and economic hardships.
The social model has two distinct aspects that link mental distress and problems of living. One aspect is that mental distress is the mind’s reaction to painful and inequitable social and relationship problems that have no clear or attainable resolution. Another is that mental distress manifests itself in more physical ways, like hearing voices or self-injury, as the most available method of coping with social and relationship conflicts.
The social model spotlights the interaction of biology, microbiology and social factors in the development of mental disorders, gives attention to community and external stimuli instead of only the internal, and is based on human mental health as a complex issue with many facets. This model embraces critique of communities and mental health treatments and promotes the use of this critical outlook for developing more effective treatments.
Mental disorders are often treated with prescription drugs that treat the effects of mental distress. The social model aims to treat causes of mental distress from the social environment that a person is in, rather than from the biological causes that come from chemical imbalances and neurological function. The social model’s relevance is illustrated in the higher number of mental disorder diagnoses among homosexuals, bisexuals, women and racial minorities. These groups suffer mental distress from social factors like sexual harassment, racial injustice and economic hardships caused by prejudice.
The social model for mental disorders is integral in improving public health policy treatments and collaboration and in involving citizens in more effective mental health care. It helps create treatments focused on root causes of mental health and mental health inequalities, rather than the aftermath.