A lot of people accept the fact that stress is a certainty in modern society. As we go about our day, we understand that and we will almost certainly encounter a stressful situation. For a lot of us, we will have to contend with multiple stressors throughout the day. As we have discussed a lot of times before, a bit of pressure can also be a good thing. It may motivate us to get things done, as well as serve as a powerful self – preservation agent. Besides this, excessive stress levels that are experienced on a continuous basis can pose a serious threat to mental, as well as physical health.
Of course, elevated stress levels can be felt by the body. Being in a state of distress, our brain will release adrenaline and cortisol (aka “the stress hormone”) into the bloodstream. In normal circumstances and when a real threat is present, this hormonal response actually enables us to “(curb) functions which would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight – or – flight situation”. In other words, we can proactively deal with the threat in such circumstances.
Overexposure to adrenaline, as well as cortisol hormones, however, can adversely impact nearly every system within our body. According to Mayo Clinic, overexposure to cortisol from too much stress will increase the risk of a lot of health problems, which include anxiety, depression, digestive problems, as well as headaches, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain, and memory, as well as concentration impairment.
In today’s article, we will discuss eight of the most common physical effect of too much stress. We will also provide some tips on how to effectively cope with stressors in our lives.
First of all, we are going to present you the eight physical signs of too much stress:
According to Mayo Clinic, headaches are more likely to happen when we are stressed. Moreover, stress is in the first place as a cause of tension headaches. The most common type of a headache called tension-type headache can actually case mild, as well as moderate or intense pain in your head, neck and behind your eyes. Stress can create, as well as exacerbate other types of headaches, which include migraines.
2. Digestive problems
When our brain opens the hormone floodgates, the digestive system actually undergoes a kind of initial “shock.” Some medical experts have uncovered an intricate connection between the brain and the digestive system that is actually helpful in explaining why stress can cause a lot of digestive problems to surface. Chronic stress can also worsen certain conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
3. Frequent colds and infections.
Stress can cause our circulatory system to kick into overdrive (as a result of increased heart rate). This psychological effect, together with a rise of blood pressure, can suppress the immunity. Of course, this weakens the ability of the immunity to seek out and neutralize illness-causing bacteria, as well as other agents.
4. Weight gain.
There is just a minority of individuals experience fluctuating weight, no matter if stress reactions are usually very commonly connected with weight gain – and even weight loss. Saying this, elevated levels of cortisol have been shown to up appetite, as well as drive craving or “junk” food, as well as make it (easier) to accumulate belly fat.
5. Stomach issues.
As it has been mentioned before, stress reactions can actually throw the digestive system through a loop. Relatedly, stomach problems are among the most commonly cited symptoms of those that have high-stress levels. Some of the potential stomach – related problems, which result from this kind of reaction are nausea, indigestion, cramps, as well as aches.
Emotional, as well as mental and physical stimuli can actually cause stress which interrupts the normal functioning of our body. The presence of it will increase pressure and tension levels within the body, which will make it more prone to fatigue, also potentially manifesting into mental or physical exhaustion.
7. Chest pain or palpitations.
Stress can create anxiety and opposite – anxiety can cause stress. This frustrating mental cycle can actually cause tightness and/or pain. In addition to this, chest pains are usually frightening experiences and this reaction will further exacerbate the stress/anxiety which is present.
Chronic stress is itself a risk factor for heart disease, as well as heart attack. Some recent research studies have linked stress and the mechanism for blood clotting, which can actually cause moderate to severe heart problems.
8. Loss of sex drive
For both, male and female, the desire to engage in sexual intercourse can be hampered by stress. The one simple reason is that it actually hijacks chemicals in the brain which are responsible for stimulating sex drive. Chronic stress can actually lead to a problem related to ovulation for women and lowered sperm count, as well as fertility in men.
Stress coping tips
While stress may be considered as an unavoidable fact of life, there are a lot of other ways to lessen its effect on our minds, as well as bodies.
Some of the best ways for counteracting stress include the following:
- Writing for about 10 to 15 minutes a day about stressful events and the effects they cause. This will help you to organize your thoughts, as well as promote stress relief.
- Talking to our family, friends, or our professional about our stressful feelings in a healthy way in order to relieve them.
- Do something enjoyable like a hobby, creative activity or some volunteer work.
- Focus on the present by practicing meditation and guided imagery.
- Exercise regularly, because it is one of the best ways to manage stress. Stretching can actually reduce muscle tension, which is a byproduct of elevated stress levels.
- You should also practice breathing exercises, as well as muscle relaxation and yoga, as it can help you relieve stress.
- Getting a massage or trying aromatherapy or music therapy as well.