Most of us have at least a bit of stress in our everyday lives and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, small levels of recurrent stress can be beneficial. Physically, it keeps our brain more alert which leads to improved performance. Mentally, it helps with self-preservation and protection. However, without proper care or awareness, stress can be quite detrimental. So let’s see How Stress Can Affect Your Health
While minor, short-term stress gives you an evolutionary advantage, prolonged response to constant everyday stress becomes a threat to your physical, emotional, and psychological wellbeing. Stress can have both short-term and long-term effects.
Following are the common short-term effects of stress. You may recognize some of these:
- Shortness of breath
- Spikes in blood pressure
- Upset stomach
- Racing heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Muscle tension or pain
- Dry mouth
- Increase or decrease in appetite
Generally, once the cause of stress goes away, the body returns back to normal stress levels. However, in case of long-term or chronic stress, this doesn’t happen. This can have various negative effects. Such as:
Existing Health Problems Become Worse
If long-term stress does not get treated, it affects the immune system which makes existing health problems worse as it becomes much more difficult to recover from them.
Prolonged Stress May Cause Disease
Not only can stress leave a person much more susceptible to illness, some individuals use unhealthy behaviors, e.g. excessive drinking or smoking, to cope with stress. This can lead to disease in the long run. There is also a possible link between obesity and stress. Furthermore, long-term stress is also associated with heart disease.
Contrary to what many people believe, stress doesn’t cause stomach ulcers. However, it can certainly make them worse. Apart from this, it can cause other digestive problems and it negatively impacts nutrient absorption.
It’s not uncommon for individuals suffering from stress to develop skin issues. Breakouts of acne as well as flare-ups of existing skin issues, e.g. psoriasis, are the usual effects of stress.
People who suffer from long-term stress often find it difficult to fall asleep.
Stress can also have various mental effects on a person and they are just as harmful as physical effects, if not more. These include (but not limited to) the following:
Feelings of dread and racing thoughts are the common characteristics of anxiety. It is also often coupled with chest pain and elevated heart rate in certain cases.
Stress primarily affects short-term memory. However, in severe cases, it can also impact long-term recall.
Lack of Focus
Intrusive thoughts related to stress can make it very difficult for the person to concentrate on the task at hand.
Increased Negativity Towards Life
Having a negative outlook on everything is one of the common mental effects of stress.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
People can sometimes develop post-traumatic stress disorder when they go through a traumatic event. The stress brought on by the incident may cause periods of extreme stress and flashbacks.
In conclusion, there are a number of different ways stress can affect your health. Each person processes and responds to their stressors differently. So, it is important to understand the triggers and causes of stress and learn coping strategies to eliminate or at least reduce them before they become a problem. Meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises have all been shown to reduce stress. It would also be a good idea to consult with a counselor or psychologist. They can help you find the root cause of your stress so you can manage it effectively and safely.
It is apparent, that remained unchecked, stress can have a monumental impact on us both physically and mentally. Not to mention, stress can impact something we will touch on later, diet and nutrition, it can overload many of our senses and unable us to make the right choice at the right time. We hope this helps and we will expand on this more later! Till next time!-The Black Sheep