While stress is viewed mainly as a psychological issue, its effects can slowly wear out the body. Research studies indicate that stress contributes to approximately 80 percent of the most prominent illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and many others. Aside from the body, stress can also cause psychological and psychiatric problems, such as depression and anxiety.
Both the body and mind react To stress in an attempt to counteract its physiological effects, which include elevated blood pressure, muscle tension, overactive glands, chemical imbalances, and nutrient deficiencies.
Stress will make you feel tired and low. Many experience irritable bowel syndrome, unstable appetite, cold hands and feet, headaches, teeth grinding, and nervous twitches.
One of the most prominent effects of stress is insomnia and sleep pattern changes due to difficulty breathing, racing thoughts, and back pain. Other serious manifestations include anxiety, panic attacks, OCD’s, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
When you are experiencing a stressful response, your body’s nervous system becomes overly active. To compensate for the burst of energy, bodily functions such as digestion are inhibited to perform to the fullest, causing digestive problems such as IBS.
Due to digestion slowing down, sugars or fats stored in your body are released to make up for it. Cholesterol levels rise and your blood becomes thicker in the presence of more sugar. This causes fatigue, inhibits immune response, and significantly increases the chances of cardiovascular disease due to clotting.
The adrenal gland plays a major role in the effects of stress, and this powerful hormone-making machine triggers many of its symptoms. Due to the enormous wear that stress causes on the body and all the energy spent in our nervous system, the body attempts to supply a surplus of energy by producing adrenaline. High levels of adrenaline in the body also aid in the release of sugars, fats, and proteins, creating a vicious cycle.
Another important hormone produced by stress is cortisol. Cortisol is responsible for the regulation of carbohydrate metabolism and blood pressure control. In fact, cortisol is the one to blame for the ‘stress fat’ that gathers around our midsection.
Stress is a dangerous ‘state Of mind’ that has detrimental effects to your health. To minimize your susceptibility to disease, protect yourself from stress as much as possible. Drop a bad habit, set up a bill reminder, and exercise more. You’d be surprised how one good habit can lead you to another one, and another one, and another one.
By David McDonough