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Stress and the Impact of Stress on Your Body

Stress, a six-letter word, is often defined as the overwhelming feeling one experiences under a situation that involves any emotional or mental pressure. The word in itself is capable of painting a picture in your mind where hundreds of cars are stuck in traffic, honking as loud as they can. It singlehandedly takes you down memory lane when you couldn't find your keys and eventually got late for an important meeting. The anxiety and fear one experiences in such a setting are what we call stress.

In a strainful environment, the hypothalamus part of your brain sends an emergency message to your body to release stress hormones such as Cortisol. These stress hormones trigger a "fight or flight" response in your body. It leads to the point where the pulse rate surges, the muscles activate for action, and breathing becomes heavy. Interestingly, this reaction was initiated by your brain to prepare you to act quickly in a dangerous or risky situation. However, if such a phenomenon starts taking place every day, it can put you at serious risk.

Experts opine that constant stress can lead the body to develop serious health concerns. Chronic stress can have long-term effects on the body. It disrupts almost all the systems of the body.

Symptoms of Stress

  • Irritability 
  • Headaches 
  • Fatigue 
  • Insomnia 
  • Clinical Depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Cloudiness 
  • Back Pain 
  • Emotional Withdrawal
  • Loss of Appetite

How does Stress Affect the Body?

Stress is part and parcel of human life. Some degree of stress is always involved, which in many cases acts as a catalyst. It pushes people to go beyond the usual and get the job done. However, too much stress and chronic stress perturbs the overall well-being of the body. Apart from the mental and emotional damage, long-term stress also causes physical and social damage to your health. Often chronic stress is found to be the underlying cause of several fatal diseases.

Respiratory Ailment

The hormones released in a strenuous circumstance affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems to a great extent. As a result of a stress response, breathing becomes faster and faster for the quick distribution of oxygen-rich blood to the body. A person already dealing with a severe breathing concern like asthma may find it difficult to deal with stress effectively.

Similarly, under stress, the heart also pumps faster. The stress-inducing hormones constrict the blood vessels and divert excessive oxygen to the muscles so that they have enough strength to take action when needed, raising the blood pressure. In essence, chronic stress makes the heart work harder than necessary for a prolonged duration. When the blood pressure rises, the risks of having a stroke or heart attack escalate.

Frequent Muscle Pain

The muscles, when in a dangerous situation, start to tense up to protect themselves from injury. They go back to their normal state once you relax. Howbeit, in a chronic stress situation, the muscles may not get the chance to relax. Tightened muscles cause headaches, back & abdomen pain, and other body aches. After a certain point, this can make the body imbalanced and inactive as you stop exercising and turn to pain medication for relief.

Diabetes

Stress can trigger and worsen diabetes in many ways. Firstly, it can increase the frequency of bad behaviors. It can push the body to start mindless eating and excessive drinking. Secondly, experts claim that stress raises the glucose levels of people with type 2 diabetes directly.

Alzheimer's

Medical researchers and practitioners believe that people living in an extremely stressful life condition are more likely to show mild symptoms of Alzheimer's. The stress hormone cortisol damages the brain cells and causes inflammation which is also linked to the development of Alzheimer's symptoms.

Bad Posture

Too much strain on muscles and shallow breathing leads to compromised body posture. The increased tightness of muscles and improper breathing may be a result of chronic stress. It can permanently hamper your body posture if not treated well on time.

Obesity

Increased secretion of cortisol pushes the body to indulge in overeating. The stress hormone demands the body to excessively feed on the "comfort food." This causes the body to gain unnecessary weight and ultimately leads to obesity.

Erectile Dysfunction

Although short-term stress can increase the production of the male hormone testosterone, it doesn't last for too long.

If the stress is not managed properly on time, a man's testosterone levels may fall drastically. This may cause interference with sperm production and cause erectile dysfunction or impotence. Chronic stress may also increase the chances of infection in the reproductive organs.

In women, stress directly impacts menstruation. It often leads to irregularities in the menstrual cycle. Subsequently, it can also cause heavy bleeding and painful abdominal cramps. Chronic stress can also enhance menopause symptoms.

Low Sex Drive

Stress exhausts the body and mind alike. It is quite common to lose desire and stamina under continual stress. It is a known fact that stress can drain all the energy and enthusiasm out of your body; in such a scenario, lethargy can creep into your sex life too. Men and women, when put in stressful circumstances, experience extremely low libido and diminished sex drive.

Stress Incontinence

Have you felt the sudden urge to use the loo before a job interview? Do you find yourself going to the bathroom more often when you're nervous? This happens because stress affects your bladder too. Continual pressure makes the bladder hyperreactive. This leads to the development of Urinary Tract Infections and, in more severe cases, stress incontinence.

Extreme Weight Loss

While stress often paves the way to obesity, stress can cause excessive weight loss for some people. Loss of appetite is a very common symptom of chronic stress. It may force you to skip meals, make poor eating choices or lose the desire to eat altogether. Sudden fluctuations in weight are considered one of the first few symptoms of chronic stress.

Delayed Wound Healing

According to various studies and researches, it has been proven that stress slows down wound healing. Although both the direct and indirect mechanisms may be responsible for delayed healing, the most promiscuous effects of stress lead to worsened cellular immunity. The alteration in the immune system adversely impacts the wound healing capacity of the body.

Poor Vision

Stress is the natural response of the body to any demand for change that interferes with its normal equilibrium. Whether the reaction is physical, mental, emotional, or visual, stress affects all of us to one degree or another. Continual stress leads to headaches which may cause blurred vision and excessive strain on the eyes.

What is Stress Management?

They say stress management is an art; indeed, it is. Managing your stress levels is quintessential to living a healthy and prosperous life. It is next to impossible to avoid stressing out completely, but you can always limit the impact stressful situations cause on your mental and physical well-being. There are plenty of creative ways to manage your stress before it starts to take a toll on your overall health.

How to Manage Stress?

There is no one perfect therapy that is effective for everybody dealing with stress. On the contrary, stress management is personal and individualistic. One can design their method of dealing with stress. The best way of managing chronic stress is to understand the cause of the stress and derail it for a while.

Follow these five easy steps to nip your stress at the bud and live a happier lifestyle.

1. Be Cautious

Begin with understanding who you are. Identify your emotions and channelize your energies. To bring a change in your life, you first need to know your strengths and weakness. Spend some alone time and reflect on yourself.

2. Identify the Problem

Once you know where the problem lies, it becomes easier to find a solution. Pay attention to your reactions to the actions of others. If their actions trigger negative responses in you, try avoiding them. Trace your negative patterns and replace them with healthier ones.

3. Take Frequent Breaks

Every one of us gets into the "low zone" at some point or the other. The best way to hop back to normalcy soon is to give you enough room to rest. On the days you do not feel good, allow yourself to take frequent breaks.

4. Pick your favorites

Investing time into things of your choice is an effective way of releasing stress. Whether it is reading that you like, or exercising late in the evening, pick your favorite hobbies and start spending time doing what you love the most.

5. Hydrate More

Water is a magic potion. It can not only cure severe physical ailments but can also aid in soothing your mind. Hydrate yourself properly at all times and see how easy everything becomes

Stress can be a major risk factor for a wide range of medical conditions and disorders. Managing stress is an important part of modern life, and at HPFY, we help you manage stress with the best stress management products online.

 

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