People constantly say that stress is bad for you and it is best if you just relax and don’t get too stressed. This applies to work, finding a job, keeping a job and even your finances once you are earning a salary. Many people naturally stress and obsess over issues. However, according to scientific research, while it may not be healthy for you, stress is actually a natural occurrence.
What is Stress?
Stress is really a basic instinct that evolved to activate when humans were being attacked. However, now instead of helping us to run away from danger it activates the same stress hormones when we are worried about work, finances, relationships or any other issue that you have ever stressed or obsessed about. Most other animals actually have the same stress hormones as we do. Although unlike these animals, humans lack the ability to turn off the stress hormones that flood our system. So unless you can just relax you will continue to get stressed even though you are not fighting for your life.
Can Stress Really Kill You?
The scientific evidence all points to a definite yes. The Japanese even have a special word ‘Karoshi’ which means ‘Death from overwork’. When Cortisol which is one of the main stress hormones is released, it has negative effects on the body. It diverts Energy from essential systems. If stress continues over long periods of time, as is common in many executive jobs, it can lead to problems with the immune system. Studies carried out on mice and monkeys have also shown that chronic stress can lead to blogged arteries, heart attacks and reduced cognitive function. In fact some studies have shown that stress can speed up the ageing process by reducing the length of Telomeres in our DNA which have been directly linked to the ageing process.
How to Combat Stress
Although stress is bad for you, it is possible to combat it and one of the most effective ways is actually simple and free. Oxytocin also known as the ‘cuddle hormone’ has been shown to counteract the effects of stress. It is basically positive social interaction such as cuddles or even just having fun with friends and family. So if life is getting you stressed the best treatment is a nice cuddle from a friend.
Stress may be a natural part of life, but it has certainly evolved into a negative human response. So unless you want to fall victim to ‘Karoshi’; next time you have a stressful day at work remember to have a nice cuddle when you get home, or go and see some friends. You never know it might save your life.