7 Things Stress Does to Everybody, Without Exception

Stress is one of the biggest problems we have to deal with in modern life. It’s everywhere, and many don’t realize how much damage daily stress might be doing to them.

It’s all well and good to eat right, get enuogh sleep and exercise, but when it comes to mental hardship people will shrug it off, thinking it won’t have an impact on their health.
Here are 7 recent conclusions about stress you should know about:

Stress at work is bad for the body

A review of relevant research conducted last September, officially identified a strong connection between stress at work and a bigger likelihood to get a heart attack. The review, performed by researches of the College University of London, shows that there is a strong correlation between overworking and a 23% increased chance of a heart attack. Another research published this last year in the Journal for occupational medicine, found that stress at work can cause specific harm to women by increasing their chances of diabetes.

A Smile is Stress Medicine 

A real, honest smile, one that uses both the eye and mouth muscles, may help decrease the heart rate after a stressful even. So found research published in Psychological Science.
“Next time you are stuck in traffic or experience any other type of stress, you can try and put a smile on your face,” says the main researcher from the University of Kansas, Sarah Paseman. “Not only will it help you cope psychologically, it will actually contribute to the health of your heart.”

The link between stress and stressful situations

It turns out that not only can stress alone cause health problems, but even thinking about stress! This from research conducted at the University of Ohio. Researchers found that when a person is asked to think about a stressful event, the levels of C protein, a protein known to deal with inflammation, rise and may cause inflammation themselves.
Similarly, research published in the American Journal of Cardiology showed that a perception of stress can affect health quite significantly. Specifically, researchers from the medical center of Colombia University found that people who believe they are stressed have a higher chance of suffering heart conditions.

Chronic tension may increase the risk of diabetes among men

Being in a state of constant stress is linked to the risk of suffering diabetes among men. This from research published in Diabetic Medicine. Swedish researchers spent 35 years examining the link between ongoing stress at work or home to period pressures or a lack of stress altogether. They found that among those that reported ongoing stress, they had a 45% bigger chance of getting Type 2 diabetes. This in comparison to those who reported temporary stress or no stress at all. The study included 7000 men and took into account other risk factors, such as blood pressure, age and physical activity.

Meditation to increase awareness can be key
A study conducted by the University of California shows that ongoing practice of Mindfulness Meditation (meditation that focuses on the present) can significantly reduce the levels of the stress hormone (cortisol). Findings were published in the Journal of Health Psychology.

Another research, published in the PLos ONE Journal, found that work stress may, in fact, quicken the pace of aging. Researchers found a close link between work stress and short telemeters (the edges of chromosomes that are linked to a person’s aging process, the shorter – the shorter the life span usually). 

The millennium generation is the most stressed out generation 

The millennium is apparently the worst at dealing with stress. So says a large survey performed by the American Union of Psychologists and was published last August. The survey showed that people ages 18-33 experienced an average stress level of 5.4 (on a 1-10 scale) compared to an average national was 4.8.
According to researchers, the largest causes of stress since the millennium are job instability and work-related issues. It found that 39% of the millennium generation admitted that their levels of stress have gone up in the past year. Also, research shows that they experienced a lot more agitation, anger, anxiety and depression when compared to previous generations.

Stress causes Inflammation

Researchers from Carnegie University found that in the long range, stress can harm the ability of the body to resist inflammation, which increases the likelihood of suffering infections. The researchers believe that when a person is stressed, the cells of the immunity system cannot respond to hormone control, and so there is an increased risk of suffering inflammation, which promotes illnesses such as heart conditions, asthma and autoimmune diseases 

Things Stressing You Out Right Now

While most stress triggers money or work are easily identifiable, many minor daily activities are unknowingly contributing to more stress in your life. Alas the daily grind of annoyances and mild anxieties will have a long term effect. The key to combating these sorts of stressors is recognizing them and not letting them bother you. Here are 9 things you can try to avoid.

1. Other stressed people
While you might actively be avoiding your own stress triggers, other people around you might unknowingly be increasing your stress levels. A 2014 German study found that participants observing others being stressed by tasks had rising levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Stress can also be triggered by traumas of those around us, such as people experiencing illness. You’re reminded that these things can happen close to home and you fall into a thinking pattern filled with anxiety and negativity, which stresses you out unnecessarily.

2. Multitasking

It may seem you’re being efficient but this buzz word actually decreases productivity and increases stress. In 2012 a study at the University of Irvine looked at people who dealt with emails while working, as well as people who dealt with emails at a separate time. The former were less productive in their other daily skills. Physically their heart rate also showed more variability, which indicates mental stress. Doing one thing at a time is more fruitful, and better for your health. You can do a good job, and you might be surprised to find you’ll have more time.

3. Your significant other

Even if you’re happy and are in a healthy relationship, living with someone inevitably leads to annoyances. Stress can be caused by simple things, leaving the toilet seat up, or heavier issues money or co-parenting. So how do you avoid this kind of stress? The answer is striving for balance, in spending the right amount of time together, open and honest communication, compromise, and remembering why you love your partner and then acknowledging this daily. Let your partner be a stress-release factor in your life, and not the cause of it.

4. Taking a break
While taking a break from a stressful situation to watch a movie, or meet a friend can be helpful, sometimes you’re so anxious that you’re unable to truly let go and enjoy the present. It creeps back into your mind, making you bad company, and applying further stress to your mind and body. During such moments, it is important to work on being mindful and focusing on the present. Stress and anxiety do, temporarily, go away when you’re truly absorbed in your surroundings.

5. Everyday annoyances

Small daily encounters, rude customer service or waiting in long lines, have bigger affects on your mood than you realize. You want to present yourself as composed and on top of things. Your reaction, whether you adapt and conjure a new plan, or throw a pity party and get upset, makes the difference. If you are more the latter, this can contribute to a mindset steeped in pessimism and victimization, which will eventually eat you away. You have to be realistic, acknowledging that some things are beyond your control and remind yourself that you’re doing your best.

6. Easy fixes

A lot of our coping methods to combat stress are counterproductive. You work longer hours, stop exercising, or eat more junk food. These seem easy fixes, but the truth is foregoing healthy eating and physical activity actually stresses your body out, because these actions strengthen our bodies’ ability to fight stress effectively. 

7. Tea and chocolate
There are many reports mentioning how bad coffee is, but equally guilt culprits are chocolate and tea. This two treats are often relied on for relieving stress. However, what’s not often discussed is that they have as much caffeine as our friend coffee. Caffeine is known to make stress worse by irritating digestion, causing irritability and disturbing sleep patterns.

8. Digital devices
Whether for business or pleasure, technology can wreck your sleep patterns if you use your smartphone, tablet or computer too close to bedtime. Similarly, smart phones and laptops mean we are always in touch, contributing to the work creep phenomenon. By checking email outside office hours, your work stress enters your leisure time. Emails remind you of your responsibilities and it’s really hard to put those ideas to rest, especially if they are bombarding you at all hours of the day.

9. Watching your favorite sport
All sports fans know watching your favorite team play is not a passive activity. There’s a mix of tension, excitement, frustration and elation, whether your team wins or loses. The trouble is your body can’t distinguish between good or bad stress, and watching sports can set off your sympathetic nervous system. This means adrenaline is released, and the blood flow to your heart can be reduced. In the short term this has few consequences, but repeated exposure can lead to high blood pressure and increase heart disease risk.