Via Media Health
Everybody, at some point or another, will experience a stressful event. Eventually, the overwhelmed and anxious feeling will disappear, and life will resume as it did before the event. This is a normal occurrence for all of us. For people who experience chronic, long-term stress that never or rarely seems to pass, however, stress can be a killer. Literally.
Ongoing stress impacts our brains, our bodies and our behavior in ways that we will often attribute to some other malady or another. If you experience any of these symptoms often, then you may very well be enduring the effects of long-term stress.
Do you have headaches that never seem to completely go away? You might not be “just having a headache.” Stress headaches are incredibly common indicators of out-of-control stress, as well as:
- Muscle tension that you can’t seem to ease no matter how much you try to physically relax.
- Chest pain that can’t be explained by any other condition.
- Fatigue. Stress can keep a person up all night or make it hard to find restful sleep.
- Changes to your sex drive.
- Upset stomach symptoms, including heartburn in some sufferers.
This type of stress wreaks havoc on a person’s mind, making them feel and think things that they would never have if not for the constant, heavy stress that they’ve been enduring for however long. Some of the mental symptoms of ongoing stress are:
- Excessive worrying, perhaps even when you know that there is nothing to worry about.
- Restlessness and racing thoughts.
- Pessimism. Granted, you don’t have to be stressed to be a pessimist. But if you were a fairly happy and easy-going person prior to the stress you’re experiencing now, your newfound pessimism could be a symptom.
- Forgetfulness. You might forget even the simplest or most mundane of things.
- Sleeplessness due to worry or restlessness.
- An inability to focus or make sound decisions.
When we try to cope with unhealthy amounts of stress for a very long time, we are more likely to participate in unhealthy behaviors to cope with or attempt to alleviate it. This includes drinking excessively, drug abuse and self-harm. You may also partake in the following behaviors, perhaps without even realizing it:
- Eating far too little or far too much.
- Avoiding responsibilities and social obligations.
- Pacing, fidgeting, nail-biting, hair-twirling or skin-picking, as well as other nervous behaviors.
Stress is no joke. It can do serious damage to a person’s body as well as their overall feelings about life and themselves. If you cannot shake the overwhelmed feeling, the anxiety, the worry that comes with prolonged stress, don’t think that it’s just going to evaporate someday. The best thing that you can do is to talk to someone, a therapist or friend or relative, whomever, and ask for help when you need it.
Everybody now knows that smoking cigarettes is a killer habit that comes with a slew of side-effects and health ailments. So many people want to quit, with most of them stumbling at some point along the way before they kick the habit for good – if they ever do. Some people think that if they’ve been smoking for years or even decades that there are no substantial gains to be had if they quit smoking. After all, “the damage has been done,” right?
As it turns out, that’s not at all true.
From the time you put down your final cigarette and for the next 15 to 20 years, your body will undergo changes ranging from subtle to quite noticeable. Below we’ll detail what changes occur within the human body during the first 24 hours, as well as what long-term benefits are to be gained after 10 years or more.
The First Day
By hour 24, your body will have already undergone some pretty surprising changes for the better.
- Your blood pressure will return to normal.
- The amount of carbon monoxide and nicotine in your blood is cut down to half, and then down to normal levels by the 24th hour. This helps oxygen levels get back to their ideal state.
- You will have already reduced your chances of having a heart attack.
The Third Day
The first 24 hours already bring about a host of health benefits, so imagine what happens by day three. Well, you don’t actually have to imagine, because we’ve got that information right here:
- Some of the most persistent withdrawal symptoms will subside, making the process more bearable as you go on.
- You will breathe tremendously easier by day three of quitting smoking. From here, your lungs are only going to get into better condition over time.
The First Month
30 days have come and gone, and your body is now experiencing an invigorated state.
- Your lungs have drastically improved in functionality, making exercise easier and helping you to breathe better.
- You have experienced the greatest extent of your withdrawal symptoms. While saying no to an offered cigarette might not be a breeze, it will be much easier to turn down the temptation.
- Your risk of having a heart attack has decreased even more.
The First Year
Remember the last 12 months and how tough it was at the beginning? You’ve reached a tremendous milestone and can celebrate with the fact that your risk of developing heart disease has been cut in half!
The Next 5-15 Years
It is over this decade that your body’s systems will return to the state of a non-smoker’s. Specifically, you will have the same risk of developing these diseases as someone who has never smoked:
- Cervical Cancer
- Mouth Cancer
- Throat Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Heart Disease
You will also be significantly less likely to be afflicted by lung cancer, larynx cancer and cancer of the pancreas.