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Effects of Stress

May is Mental Health Month. Throughout the month, we will be sharing how and why mental health is such an important factor for living your best life. In the article below Dr. Patrick Smith discusses how stress effects our bodies, and gives some suggestions about how we can cope with it.

Dr. Patrick Smith, practices in our La Junta clinic.

We have all experienced feeling stressed at some point in our life.  Stress happens when a person is put under strain or a bad situation which affects her/his emotional state.  Anything that makes us uncomfortable can cause us to feel stress.

Stress can cause a variety of problems.  It can affect our emotions by making people moody, upset, anxious, angry, suicidal thoughts, depression and worry excessively.  Stress can affect our mental state by causing memory problems, concentration issues, decision making ability and sleep issues.  It can also cause physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, pain, heart palpitations, diarrhea or altered eating habits.

Dr. Patrick Smith, practices in our La Junta clinic.

Sometimes people resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms or self-destructive behaviors to deal with their stress.  This included excessive use of alcohol or drugs, including marijuana, tobacco abuse, poor eating habits, and other self-destructive behaviors.

There are ways to address and deal with stress in a healthy manner.  Physical exercise makes the body feel better and diverts the mind from the source of the stress.  Healthy social activities.  Avoiding stressful situations.  Healthy diets.  Talking with friends and family.  People can also go to counselors, relaxation therapy, massage and yoga classes. Addressing stress is very important.  Long term stress can be very bad for your body and increase your risk of heart attacks, ulcers in the stomach, obesity, poor sleep and other chronic conditions.

Everybody has stress at some point in your life.  If you feel you have a hard time coping with your stress, talk with your medical provider to see what can be done to help you.

Live long and prosper.

Valley-Wide Health Systems is committed to providing information conducive to a healthy active lifestyle. For more information and to discuss your wellness journey with a provider visit us at vwhs.org.