Stress seems to have a way of making it into everyday life. Whether it is that long commute home, looming deadlines at work or fighting with family members over dinner plans or whose turn it is to wash the dishes, it is certainly a way of life for many people. The effects of prolonged stress, however, may be more damaging than many may think.

Stress can affect one’s mental and emotional well-being and stability. Prolonged amounts can make this problem drastically worse. Whether suffering from stress due to work, financial, home or other relationships seeking the help of a counsellor can be beneficial to someone struggling to cope with the effects that it can have.

The human body perceives stress as a threat and prolonged exposure to this threat has a way of manifesting itself in physical ways in addition to the mental and emotional implications that many often think of.Stress can lead to sudden weight gain or weight loss. It can cause hormones to spiral out of control causing the body to confuse what danger is real and what is perceived.

The fight or flight hormone, adrenaline, may be in full force during times of distress causing the body to be constantly hyper aware of what is going on around it and unable to relax. This can have catastrophic effects on the heart, digestive system, and nervous system, including the brain. It can lead to increased blood pressure, increased anxiety levels as well assleeping issues.

Stress also causes increased levels cortisol in the body. Sometimes call the stress hormone, cortisol is released and stored in the body during times of distress which in turn can cause weight gain and other serious health implications if the hormone is not used for what the body actually intended it for. Cortisol inhibits or slows the reaction of nonessential functions in the body to increase the availability of glucose to places where it would be more needed during a threat, such as the digestive and immune systems. It also increases the amount of tissue needed to repair cells in case of injury (from the perceived threat). Then in the likely event that every time it is released one is not being attacked and therefore the hormone is not getting used, the body will store a large amount of it fat.

Stress can have a large impact on psychological and emotional issues as well. It can lead to trouble concentrating, depression, anxiety, mood swings, eating disorders and a wide variety of other emotional issues. It can have lasting effects on homes, lives, relationships and finances if allowed to keep happening.

Handling stress is not always easy. Often the contributing factors cannot always be eliminated but one can learn ways of relaxing their minds and bodies to ensure when the stressors do come around they will be better equipped to handle them. Exercise, yoga, meditation and even counselling are all proven effective forms in dealing with stress and its effects. As they say, laughter is the best medicine, so finding joy and laughter out of the simple things in life has also proven to be an effective means of handling one’s problems.

Often times finding the underlying causes of stress can help get a handle on controlling it. Sessions with a counsellor can help sort out whether stress is work related, a problem at home or if it is a mixture of things. No matter what is causing stress finding the means to control or eliminate it will ensure it does not have any more lasting, long term negative effects on one’s health or way of life.