In our daily lives, we worry over many problems. Although some of the causes of our worry can be genuine, many people also have a tendency to worry over trivial things. This can be attributed to their upbringing, attitude and other social factors. Unfortunately, irrespective of the causes of worry, excessive worrying can lead to many psychological as well as physical problems.
Worrying can be described as the constant feeling of unease that is associated with an excessive concern about a particular problem or circumstance. This inordinate concern about things that might happen in future puts the mind and body in lot of stress.
The feeling of constant worry may even lead to a panic situation. Often, the sense of fear is without any reason. Most of the people, who have this problem of indulging in excessive worry, are highly sensitive to any sort of criticism. They find reasons to worry in almost any situation.
The constant worrying tells upon the day-to-day life heavily. It can create havoc in the daily routine activities like eating, sleeping, work outputs and even relationship. Sometimes, this can also drive people to take recourse to harmful habits like smoking, taking alcohol or drugs, eating too much of junk foods etc.
What is anxiety?
Although anxiety is a natural action of the body and mind when stressed, constant stress can lead to more deep-seated disorders like panic disorder or social anxiety. This generalized anxiety disorder affects people of all age group, gender and race and at present, almost 10 million of adults in US are affected by it.
Minor stress before any important event or assignment is natural. In fact, this little stress helps in going through it successfully. For example, before any job interview, you remain focused due to the little anxiety you feel. It drives you to put in more efforts for the study and preparation in order to raise your level of performance. This type of worrying has a positive impact.
But in case of people, who have the tendency to worry too much fail to give a proper direction to it. Their level of anxiety is much more intense and they fail to adjust it properly. Since, much of their anxiety is irrational without any real cause; they fail to deal with it in a systematic way. The excessive worrying or prolonged spells of anxiety makes them unable to think in a coherent way and this can also have physical manifestations.
Unreasonable anxiety and stress response
We all feel stressed after a long day. This is due to the constant pressure of work. Even normal daily routine works like negotiating your ways to the office during the rush traffic hours, the long queues at the ticket counter, the buzzing of the cell phone make you irritated. All these seemingly innocuous events make you stressed at the end of the day. But, when these minor irritants become too much for your body, then a stress response is activated.
The stress response entails two components. One is the sense of the impending challenge. The other is the reflex action that naturally occurs in response to the challenge. There is a rush of adrenalin during the automatic reflex action and this protected the early man from the dangers of wild animals in the jungle. Although there are no real dangers for the lives these days, still the body automatically sets off the automatic reaction against the pressure of works and other social and emotional problems we face.
Excessive stress can be pathological
The excessive worrying and the constant stress can in fact, lead to a lot of ailments. This is due to the prolonged occurrence of automatic body response to the stress. The body’s nervous system releases stress hormones like cortisol. The hormones increase the level of sugar and triglyceride levels in the blood, to be used as fuel by the body and can cause the following physical reactions:
- difficulty swallowing
- dry mouth
- fast heartbeat
- inability to concentrate
- muscle aches
- muscle tension
- nervous energy
- rapid breathing
- shortness of breath
- trembling and twitching
If the excess fuel is not used by the body through physical activities, then the accumulated stress hormone may lead to complications like:
- suppression of the immune system
- digestive disorders
- muscle tension
- short-term memory loss
- premature coronary artery disease
- heart attack
In certain cases, the excessive stress may contribute to serious problems like depression and suicidal tendency.
While it is true that these effects or conditions are an aftermath of the stress, falling prey to it is dependant upon the individual concerned. It is an improper response to it that leads to serious consequences. The physical reactions of the body to stress like secretions of hormones, activation of the immune system, and increase in the heart rate actually help in the important functions of the body.
The stress, in fact, doesn’t make people ill. It is the effects of prolonged and inordinate worrying that set in a host of reactions in the body that finally cause the illness. The set of reaction are dependent upon your preparedness to cope with stress. This in turn, is related to your physical and mental state. A change in lifestyle and inculcating proper habit can make you fitter to deal with stress.