The Effects Stress Has on Your Body
Stress: Symptoms and Effects
In today’s day and age, constant stress is pretty common. Whether you have a stressful job, home life, or are in a stressful situation; it’s safe to say you have experienced stress at some point in your life. Being under constant stress can wreak havoc on your body.
However, it’s not always easy to recognize the symptoms of stress. Because of this, many people completely overlook stress as the cause of a health issue and look elsewhere for answers. That nagging headache, insomnia, and high blood pressure may actually be caused by stress. So what are the symptoms of stress? How exactly does stress effect your body?
What is Stress?
Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences. Everyone expresses stress from time to time. Anything from everyday responsibilities like work and family to serious life events such as a new diagnosis, war, or the death of a loved one can trigger stress. For immediate, short-term situations, stress can be beneficial to your health. It can help you cope with potentially serious situations. Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones that increase your heart and breathing rates and ready your muscles to respond.
Yet if your stress response doesn’t stop firing, and these stress levels stay elevated far longer than is necessary for survival, it can take a toll on your health. Chronic stress can cause a variety of symptoms and affect your overall well-being. Your Central Nervous System plays a big part when it comes to stress.
Your central nervous system (CNS) is in charge of your “fight or flight” response. In your brain, the hypothalamus gets the ball rolling, telling your adrenal glands to release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones rev up your heartbeat and send blood rushing to the areas that need it most in an emergency, such as your muscles, heart, and other important organs.
When the perceived fear is gone, the hypothalamus should tell all systems to go back to normal. If the CNS fails to return to normal, or if the stressor doesn’t go away, the response will continue.
What Are The Symptoms?
Indeed, stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can give you a jump on managing them. Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
Common effects of stress on your body
- Muscle tension or pain
- Chest pain
- Change in sex drive
- Stomach upset
- Sleep problems
Common effects of stress on your mood
- Lack of motivation or focus
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Irritability or anger
- Sadness or depression
Common effects of stress on your behavior
- Overeating or under-eating
- Angry outbursts
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Tobacco use
- Social withdrawal
- Exercising less often
How To Manage Your Stress
Considering how detrimental the effects of stress can be, managing it should be a top priority. There are many ways to manage your stress, you just have to find one that works for you. Here are some common stress managing techniques:
- Regular Exercise
- Activities such as reading, listening to music, or socializing.
The list of stress managing techniques is endless. It all depends on what works for you, so experiment a little. Getting plenty of rest and eating a balanced diet can also greatly reduce your stress.
Stress can wreak havoc on your body, however it is possible to manage it. Learning to recognize the symptoms is a great first step. Find stress relieving activities that work for you such as: Tai-Ji, Acupuncture, or reading.
If you are experiencing chronic stress,