How Stress Affects Your Body

We all deal with stressful tasks and situation every day. They are an unavoidable part of life. How you react to these tense moments will pose an impact on your body and your overall heath.

Your thoughts, your feelings, your behavior and your whole body are all affected by stress. It depletes your energy, lessens your motivation and even lower your libido. They are many ways to manage these anxious situations and mitigate bad effects, including recognizing your common stress symptoms. Studies have shown that chronic stress that’s left untreated can result and contribute to a lot of health complications including insomnia, headaches, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and heart disease.

Common effects of stress on your mood

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Irritability or anger
  • Depression

Common effects of stress on your behavior

  • Overeating or undereating
  • Angry outbursts
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Tobacco use
  • Social withdrawal

1. Tension Headaches

People who experience anxiety or in a stressful situation, you contract your muscles and they become stiff and rigid. Muscle contractions in the neck and up above your head may cause tension headaches. The headaches can become common as you are exposed to more stressful conditions and over time can last longer and worsen.

2. Acne and Breakouts

Your body releases cortisol (stress hormone) when you feel stressed. This hormone increases your skin’s oil production, making it oil and prone to acne breakouts. In addition, when you are anxious, your body also releases and increases the level of androgen (sex hormone) in your body. This also produces acne flare ups. In addition to acne, rashes can also show up in your body when you are stressed. Anxiety can create chaos to your immune system, which can trigger rashes, eczema and skin infections. Stress can also make the brain stop non-essential tasks, which results in hair loss. If you are stressed, you also tend to perform nervous habits, like hair pulling or scratching, aggravating your skin and hair problems.

3. Depression

Depression and anxiety is linked to stress. Research studies have found that stress stops and inhibits the growth of new brain cells (neurogenesis) in a part of the brain (hippocampus) in mice. When there is no production of new brain cells, your body experiences prolonged stress responses as well as depression.

4. High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure and most cardiovascular diseases are triggered by stress. This happens because when you are anxious or stressed, you produce excess adrenalin and cortisol hormones. With elevated levels of these hormones, your heart rate increases and becomes irregular. The likelihood of blood clots, which can cause heart attacks, grows as your blood flow is constricted and the need for oxygen increases.

5. Digestion

Your body sows down or stops digestive processes when your fight or flight response is triggered. Those knots in your stomach when you feel anxious could be more than just an uneasy feeling. The hormone that your thyroid glands, which regulate your metabolism, can be affected by chronic stress. If your hormones are not regulated, you may experience constipation. In period of moderate or even temporary stressful situations, a partial pause in your digestive processes can cause discomfort, pain and other gastrointestinal illness.

6. Lower Metabolism and Weight Gain

There is a connection between reducing stress and losing weight. High cortisol levels from stress can suppress your appetite and slow down digestive functions. Your metabolism can be affected as the glucose released into the bloodstream becomes erratic and abnormal. Some studies also found that women who were stressed out constantly metabolized sugar and fat in their body differently than those who were not stressed out.

7. Fertility and Change in Sex Drive

As stress releases too much of the cortisol hormone in your body, your brain can also put reproductive processes to a stop. Cortisol signals your body to halt the production of estrogen and progesterone. This causes irregularities in the menstrual cycle, which makes it difficult to conceive. You may also experience a dip in your sex drive as your reproductive system goes awry.

8. Exhaustion

You cannot sleep well when you are anxious and feel stressed all the time. Anxiety and stress cause the brain to release cortisol into your bloodstream. When cortisol is released, your heartbeat becomes quicker, your brain gets more oxygen, and you get extra energy so you can deal with stress. This fight or flight response is helpful in truly dangerous situations but if you are trying to fall asleep, then you will be most likely have difficulty sleeping. You wake up tired and exhausted the next morning. Frequent and chronic stress also causes the brain to limit the amount of cortisol it produces, which can make you feel tired and exhausted every day. To keep your hormones in check, you can exercise and workout.

You must avoid feeling anxious and avoid stressful situations as much as possible. If not, then aim to find active ways to manage your stress. Exercising, going on a hike, swimming, running or even going on a walk can all help alleviate the feeling of being stressed out. Make sure to get a lot of sleep and consciously eat a healthy and balanced diet.

Experiencing stress? Contact us to get help.



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1 Response

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