Stress levels – Working under time pressure, arguing with your partner, or an upcoming exam – again and again, we experience situations in our everyday life where we feel stressed. Sure, it doesn’t work without stress – but when does it become a risk factor? Can the personal stress level be measured? And what helps if I want to lower my stress level? You will find out all this and more in this article.
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When Our Stress Level Rises
Think back to a situation in your life where you suddenly felt very stressed. Your heart beat faster than usual, and you felt an inner tension. Maybe you sweated more and breathed hectically? All of these are typical stress signals our body sends out when it is on high alert – so our stress level is significantly higher now. Evolutionarily, this is how we react to things that challenge or scare us. As soon as the stressful situation is over, our stress level can drop again – relaxation sets in.
When It Can Make Sense To Lower Your Stress Level
In an acutely stressful situation, hormones release increasingly, which help our body to provide more energy in the short term. As a result, our performance increases sharply for a short time. It can be life-saving in an emergency and help us in competition or exam situations. So stress is not always negative – and a temporarily increased stress level is not yet dangerous.
However, it becomes critical if the stress persists more often. It puts the body in a permanent state of activation; our stress level remains permanently high. The necessary breakdown of the hormones that our body releases under stress can no longer occur. It has negative consequences for our health: we feel constantly exhausted, we can no longer concentrate so well, and our performance decreases. Burnout can even develop in the long term. The risk of cardiovascular diseases, chronic high blood pressure, and problems falling and staying asleep also increases.
Causes Of High-Stress Levels
Many people feel that their stress level is permanently too high. But why is that? It is often a combination of many factors. We constantly expose ourselves to high demands and various stimuli in our everyday life. It is not uncommon for us to be in constant contact with our environment and therefore feel overburdened.
Factors That Can Lead To Permanently Elevated Stress Levels Include
- High workload
- Constant accessibility
- Work under time and performance pressure
- Interpersonal conflicts
- Lack of balance between work and private life (work-life balance)
Measure Stress Level – How Stressed Am I?
If you often feel stressed in your everyday life or notice other typical stress factors, this clearly shows an increased stress level. In addition, various measurement methods also come in use to determine whether you are overly stressed and should reduce your stress level.
Human body releases the stress hormone cortisol when the body is in stress situation. Your family doctor can determine the cortisol concentration using a urine, blood, or saliva sample. Cortisol tests are now available that you can do at home. If the result is abnormal, it is advisable to consult your family doctor. A medical measurement of heart rate variability or skin resistance can also provide information about your stress level.
Scientifically tested questionnaires offer another way of measuring your stress level. There are various methods to deal with levels. However, it depends on the individual to handle the situation. Minimizing over-stressing helps individuals to deal with stress.