It takes 21 days for a rat to become chronically stressed. How long does it take you? What if you have been operating in a state of chronic stress? Would you even notice after a while? According to Helpguide.org, a resource for mental and emotional health, to assess yourself, you need to look at four separate categories of your health: cognitive, emotional physical and behavioral. That eczema patch that does not seem to get any better may be a symptom of unresolved stress. But, so can your behavior of withdrawing from others and staying home more often. Even frequent irritability or heightened emotions can be signs of ongoing stress that may get attributed to something else like hormones.
November 1st is International Stress Awareness Day. How aware are you? Did you know there are three different types of stress? According to the American Psychological Association, there is acute stress, episodic acute stress and chronic stress. An automobile accident or upcoming surgery can put you into a state of acute stress. Those with episodic acute stress overschedule themselves, take on too many projects, have too many things to do and are always rushing from one appointment to the next. Whereas, chronic stress comes from being in situations that do not seem to have an end in sight like a prolonged unhealthy marriage or living in poverty. Once stress has reached the chronic level, it may not even be recognized by individuals as a concern. Everyone is susceptible. Even doctors who become used to long and chaotic schedules may not realize the effect the work is having on their bodies or their judgment.
If you are under chronic stress, here are some recommendations:
Reach out to your support system
Get some physical activity into your schedule
Meditate or set aside quiet time
Make one specific health change for the better like cutting out caffeine
Seek outside help for stressors
Keep a gratitude journal
Write, dance or participate in the arts
Take calming supplements like magnesium or stress-reducing herbs like Valerian
Research shows that taking Curcumin can relieve chronic stress too. According to a study published in 2006 in the Brain Research Journal, taking curcumin can reverse some of the effects of long-term stress such as adrenal gland weight to bodyweight ratio and elevated corticosterone levels. It also may help you get more regular sleep according to Huffington Post. And magnesium is another supplement that can assist with sleeplessness and muscle twitching which may be a contributor to prolonged tension. The bottom line is that you may not recognize stress if it has gone on too long. For a reliable assessment of your stress, check out these online assessments tools: