Stress and anxiety can severely affect your health. Most people already know this, but we haven’t fully absorbed the real ramifications of it. Instead, we walk around feeling half-sick much of the day because our glands have secreted overdose levels of stress hormones into our bodies. The first thing we must do is understand the terms we’re dealing with and unpackage their meanings. Anxiety, overwhelm, and burnout are interconnected and may overlap, but they are not necessarily the same.
Anxiety can be a chronic, clinically diagnosed condition for which someone takes prescription medication. It may be caused by genetic predisposition, a person’s social environment, trauma, or a combination of factors.
Overwhelm is the end result of too many sources of anxiety and stress, creating a perfect storm in the body and mind.
Burnout is a term often invoked in the workplace when a person has reached such an extreme level of overwhelm that they can’t really function anymore. Many executives and business owners experience burnout, and it can be detrimental to their health if they don’t take it seriously.
The following are a few different ways anxiety, overwhelm, and burnout can damage your health and life.
Interpersonal relationship harm
Psychologically, anxiety and burnout turns you into a bear, someone who is not fun to be around. You lose your compassion for others, and this can really damage your relationships, especially your romantic relationships.
Anxiety and depression in a man and physical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes can act as erectile dysfunction causes and effects. This creates a negative cycle, a feedback loop that results in low self-esteem, relationship issues, and a fear of intimacy.
Learning to control your anxiety and stress levels could single-handedly save your romantic relationship.
This also applies to your other relationships, like your children, your friends, and family members. Children, especially, are vulnerable to their parents’ stress and anxiety levels.
Bad business decisions
Anxiety, overwhelm, and burnout clouds your judgment and leads to impulsive, poorly thought out decision-making. Over time, this can jeopardize your professional life. It’s ironic that the very thing you may be stressed over – your business or finances – can ultimately be crushed by the levels of stress you put into thinking about it. But it’s true.
Learning ways to manage and cope with anxiety and stress will benefit your professional career in the long run. No one wants to work with or invest in a burned-out basket case. Think about it: would you want to do business with someone who looked and behaved like they were on the verge of a complete nervous breakdown?
As we mentioned above, high-stress levels and anxiety flood the body with cortisol and other stress hormones and result in various harmful health effects. This goes beyond just psychological problems; chronic stress can actually make you physically sick by weakening your immune system.
Your body is a well-tuned evolutionary machine, but if you routinely destabilize it with anxiety, you risk sabotaging your ability to handle basic biological tasks. Chronic anxiety can increase your blood pressure and put a strain on your cardiovascular system; it can disable your body’s natural mechanisms for filtering toxins and disease.
Strategies for coping with burnout
If you have chronic anxiety, you should see a doctor about it to determine the causes. But, generally speaking, there are many natural coping mechanisms for stress.
Meditation – Meditation teaches you to control your breathing, which has an almost magical effect on anxiety. Also, learning to clear your mind of negative thoughts will help you to manage day-to-day stress levels. People have been using meditation to improve their health for thousands of years. There’s a reason for this.
Exercise – Like meditation, exercise (especially yoga) helps you to harmonize your body and mind and clear away the cobwebs of negativity that accumulate in your thoughts.
Therapy – There are various kinds of therapy and counseling you can get for anxiety, including interpersonal therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, biofeedback, and more. Find one that works for you and give it a shot. Like medication, therapy gets stigmatized in our culture, but it literally saves lives.
Featured Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay