“When untreated, common stressors such as money, relationships and even childbirth can result in hypertension, tenseness, headaches, gastrointestinal problems and cardiovascular difficulties.” In fact, a recently published study revealed that women who classify their jobs as stressful are 35 to 50 percent more likely to develop heart disease than women who are happy with their workloads. Furthermore, it revealed women under the age of 50 are more susceptible to the effects of stress than older women. Additionally, Neal-Barnett says that some people who experience chronic stress become irritable and angry, which can affect quality of life and relationships. “If stress is chronic, constant, and intense, there [is] high risk of it becoming a serious problem,” she adds. “The effects of stress on your body and mind can lead to the development of an anxiety disorder.” Before stress affects your mental and physical health, it is important to get a handle on it. The Anxiety Disorders Association of America recommends talking to friends, family or a therapist, learning what triggers your anxiety and, most importantly, accepting that you cannot control everything. They also recommend trying different activities, such as volunteering. Researchers at the University of Georgia found patients who exercised regularly reported a 20-percent reduction in anxiety symptoms compared to those who did not exercise. Additionally, Jenny Evans, stress specialist and founder of PowerHouse Performance Coaching, recommends incorporating small, frequent snacks and stretch breaks into your day. She advises that you reduce your intake of caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, which actually release stress hormones into the body.
Conquer chaos and worry before they affect your health and well-being.
“Stress is your body’s physical response to events that make you feel threatened, upsetting [its] balance in some way,” states Angela Neal-Barnett, Ph.D., author of Soothe Your Nerves: The Black Woman’s Guide to Understanding and Overcoming Anxiety, Panic, and Fear.