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Are you letting stress ruin your long term health?

You’re probably aware of the more obvious effects stress can have: irritability, increased heart rate, insomnia, and inability to see the positive side of a situation.

But did you know that stress can also be the cause of much more serious problems? Stress can affect the body in drastic ways as well, encouraging such symptoms as: memory loss, increased rate of colds, chronic depression, chest pain, obesity, diarrhea, nausea, loss of sex drive, migraines, damage to the immune system, and seemingly unexplainable aches and pains.

Although certain personality types are more prone to the effects of stress than others, most sources of stress are situational. Many people feel trapped – unable to escape inadequate situations and the corrupting effects the resulting stress has on their bodies.

Life is imperfect. You will always experience stress-inducing situations. Although it is unrealistic to expect to eliminate every source of stress from your life, you CAN prepare your body for its dangerous effects.

How can you free yourself from stress?

The first step to eliminating the physiological effects of stress is to understand how stress actually works within the body.

How Does Stress Work?

When initially introduced to any stressor, our brain reacts by increasing the production of adrenaline and cortisol. These two hormones cause an elevation in heart rate and blood sugar, forcing more blood to the brain. This explains the “buzz” you may feel in your head when you encounter a nerve-wracking situation.

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The long term effect of one incident of stress is minimal. The real problem begins when stress beings to build on itself – occurring many times per day. One may eventually feel stressed out just thinking about stress!

As stress becomes more frequent, the body begins to treat the release of adrenaline and cortisol as if it is normal. As a result, our bodies adapt to the hormones, which increases the sensitivity of our nerves. We become increasingly anxious, and are more easily irritated.

Stress becomes especially dangerous when it is so regular that the body is no longer able to produce the adrenaline it has come to rely on. This is why stress often results in extreme fatigue.

Stress can also take a debilitating toll on the immune system. According to a study done at Harvard University, people who used poor coping strategies to combat stress got sick 4 times more often as those who used good coping strategies. Take a look at our Dealing With Stress page for more information on positive coping techniques.

 It is important to give your body what it needs to combat stress.

See our antioxidants page to learn how certain foods work to eliminate dangerous free radicals created by stress.

See our immune system page to learn how you can stay one step ahead of the stress in your life. 

Life is imperfect; the world is flawed. Your body doesn’t have to be. Start preparing for the effects of stress today.

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