Stress is a universal human experience. While a moderate amount of stress is important for our growth, learning, and adaptation, stress is generally viewed as an experience to be avoided. This is because we are more aware of stress when it becomes too much to deal with.
As health and wellness coaches, you are probably aware of your clients’ stress levels and how it affects their overall well-being. When talking with your clients about stress, it can be helpful to talk about the specific effects of stress on aspects of their mental and physical health, such as mood and energy levels.
This article discusses ten different ways stress affects our mood and energy levels, and provides specific resources to help your client manage stress.
Table of contents
Stress is the word we usually use to refer to the feeling we experience when our body experiences a stress response. The stress response is how our body reacts to a stressor. Stressors can include things like a deadline, uncertainty, perceived threat, unexpected changes, health risks, divorce or separation, and countless others.
Stress can be classified in different ways; it can be classified as the location of stress in the body or the duration of stress.
With regard to the localization of stress, there are two main types of stress: psychosocial (mental) stress and physiological (physical) stress.
- physiological stress, or physical stress, refers to an unpleasant or painful experience associated with potential damage to body tissue or a threat to your life. Conditions such as pain, hunger, and oxidative stress caused by exposure to toxins are causes of physiological stress. Depending on our awareness of physiological stress and its impact on our health, it can also cause psychosocial stress.
- psychosocial stress, also known as mental or emotional stress, arises as a result of situations of social threat, such as social isolation, stress associated with achievements, negative emotions and purposefulness. If psychosocial needs are not met, it can lead to psychosocial stress. This is often referred to as anxiety.
Another way to classify stress is by the duration of its presence.
- acute stress is a short-term stress and lasts from several hours to several days. This type of stress is normal and necessary for humans and other living beings to identify new or risky situations, respond in the best possible way, and learn from the experience.
- chronic stress stress that lasts for weeks or months. In this state, levels of the stress hormone cortisol are consistently high, which has many negative effects on the body and mind. Chronic stress usually results from childhood trauma and adverse events.
You can read more about the science of the stress response here.
It is important to note that the intensity of the stress response, no matter how long it lasts, can negatively affect your mental and physical well-being. Intense stress can make you feel agitated, unresponsive, and tired, even if it lasts for minutes or hours.
If intense levels of stress are felt for a long period of time, it can increase the risk of developing the disease.
Yerkes-Dodson law describes an inverted U-shaped relationship between productivity and stress levels. At low to moderate levels of stress, performance is enhanced. When the stress level is too high, productivity decreases. Chronic physiological or psychological stress can lead to burnout and illness.
How is stress related to illness? high stress level dysregulation of the immune system. It can overreact when it shouldn’t, causing an autoimmune disease and may not protect your body from pathogenic viruses and bacteria. Disease is the result of both.
The impact of chronic stress on disease is worrisome, but in general we are more aware of our day-to-day mood and energy levels. We want every day to be productive, we want to have an energy level that allows us to carry out daily activities, and we want to feel joy or peace while doing it.
As mentioned earlier and as shown in the graph above, moderate levels of stress can improve our health and well-being. Deadline for this eustress. It helps us feel motivated and focused, and is often when our creativity and problem-solving abilities are at their peak.
However, if a person begins to experience stress overload, not only their performance decreases, but also their mood and energy level. the person is no longer eustressbut instead in grief.
5 Ways High Stress or Stress Affects Your Mood
Below are five ways in which high emotional or mental stress can negatively affects mood:
- More emotional than usual You may find yourself becoming more sensitive or less patient. Some people also have the opposite reaction and become stoic when they are in stressful situations.
- Feeling down: You may feel that you are unable to do anything, and that your feelings are huge, come to the fore and take center stage. When you’re overwhelmed, you may want to turn off completely, cry, or scream.
- Feeling on edge When you are under a lot of stress, your blood high levels of cortisol. Your body and mind are in fight or flight mode. Naturally, this will make you feel alert, ready to respond appropriately in the face of perceived danger, be it another assignment or something that distracts you from meeting deadlines.
- Feeling agitated or finding it hard to keep track of things: Your mind is focused on the cause of your stress, which makes it difficult for you to think about other responsibilities. You may find yourself making a sandwich, pausing to answer an email and attend to your child, and then forget where you left the bread for your sandwich.
- Feeling of indecision: It affects your ability to solve problems, concentrate, or get your work done.
5 Ways Severe Stress or Distress Affects Your Energy Level
Stress is felt both physically and mentally. Feeling constantly or intensely stressed can have a noticeable effect on your energy levels. Many people find it difficult to stay alert during the day and interfere with sleep at night because of stress; the combination causes a cycle that affects your sleep cycle called your circadian rhythm.
Below are five ways distress can affect your energy levels.
- Heaviness in the chest, increased heart rate, or chest pain. This can make it difficult for you to exercise and exercise if you have already accelerated without even starting.
- Tired during the day. If you are under a lot of stress, you may feel sleepy during the day, even when you are performing an important task. Sleepiness can be your body’s way of giving itself a break, even if you don’t intend to.
- Increased Risk depression. People who experience chronic stress are significantly more likely to experience depression. Depression can lead to inactivity and a lack of desire to stay active.
- Frequent lethargy. Brief bouts of stress or moderate levels of stress often boost your energy levels. However, if you are experiencing sustained stress or chronic stress, you are more likely to feel sluggish, wanting to remain inactive or “lazy” for most of the day.
- Fatigue: BUT recent training in which more than 7,000 working adults took part, work-related stress was found to be significantly associated with fatigue. Fatigue is physical fatigue, no matter what you’ve been doing. You may feel like you’re recovering from a marathon, even if you haven’t been active for days or weeks.
Resources to help you and your clients deal with stress
Below is a list of AFPA resources and other sources you can use to help your clients cope with stress.
Everyone’s stress threshold is different, or the level of stress they consider manageable. For example, people who have very stressful jobs, such as EMTs, the military, or security personnel, may develop a higher stress threshold out of necessity. At the same time, they are often more vulnerable to burnout and relapse. You or your client may experience significantly more stress due to personal circumstances such as financial stress, separation or divorce, the loss of a loved one, or a legal battle.
Severe stress or distress is common, but it affects aspects of your health and well-being, such as mood and energy levels. The good news is that there are ways to prevent some types of stress, as well as methods to help manage stress so it doesn’t become overwhelming. Save this article or share it with your client to get a deeper understanding of stress and how it affects your well-being, and find ways to manage it effectively.