The Consequences Of Stress On Your Body
With our increasingly hectic lifestyles, we are more likely to experience everyday stress. And the symptoms of that stress can have a negative impact on our day to day... and you may not even realize that stress is the real culprit of all those symptoms.
So, what are the most common symptoms of stress?
When you feel stressed, it can become more difficult to sleep. This is because stress raises levels of the hormone cortisol which increases mental alertness. If you have high cortisol levels in the evening, it can keep you awake when all you really want to do is drift off to sleep.
Sleep problems can include difficulty falling asleep, or disruptive sleep, where you wake up one or more times during the night. Loss of sleep can lead to tiredness and poor concentration the following day, and long term can lead to more serious issues such as weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. You can reduce your risk of these problems by practicing good sleep hygiene and trying some of our favorite relaxation techniques before bedtime. (See also: 7 Ways to get better natural sleep.)
Mental Performance / Concentration
Stress alters the levels of various neurotransmitters in your body. These are the chemicals responsible for your mood, mental function and emotions. Over time, this change can reduce your ability to think clearly, making it more difficult to concentrate, remember things or make decisions. Here are our best tips to help de-clutter your mind when you are juggling a hectic schedule.
Aches and Pains
As part of the fight or flight response to stress, our muscles tense, ready for action. If this happens over a prolonged period it can lead to stiffness and pain, especially around the back, neck and shoulders. Stress can also contribute tension headaches.
When you experience stress regularly over time, it can sometimes lead to problems unpleasant gastrointestinal issues like constipation and diarrhea. You might find that your appetite changes, experience nausea or heartburn as the production of stomach acid is increased by stress.
When you are under stress for prolonged periods, your immune system could also be suppressed. This can leave you more vulnerable to infections such as colds and flu. Ensure you keep topped up with vitamins and minerals that help strengthen your immunity, such as Vitamin C and Zinc.
If your body thinks it is in danger, the last thing it will want to do is reproduce! Long term stress can lead to problems like reduced fertility, low sex drive, missed periods in women and erectile dysfunction in men.
Increased Blood Pressure
Adrenaline causes your blood vessels to narrow, making your blood pressure rise. Over time this can add to the risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.
Increased Blood Sugar
Cortisol releases stored sugar from cells to provide a energy boost which may be needed to escape a threat. When this happens regularly, it can lead to insulin resistance, weight gain and diabetes.
It’s clear: the consequences of stress on your body can be far more serious than just feeling worried and tense. If you are concerned about your stress levels, try these simple ways to keep relaxed during the day and consult your healthcare practitioner should symptoms persist.