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A lot of people are struggling with overwhelming levels of stress. Many factors contribute to stress, but what are its effects on your body? Can you adjust your lifestyle to handle life’s stressors better?
Stress is a product of the body’s built-in fight or flight response. When dealing with a stressful trigger, your body signals the brain that it’s under attack, your cortisol level (the stress hormone) increases, and your nervous system sends and receives signals through a chemical messenger called a neurotransmitter.
When those neurotransmitters are imbalanced, it causes feelings of stress, anxiety, and even depression. The constant state of being in fight or flight mode can lead to muscle tension. This tension can cause headaches, migraines, and other painful conditions.
Stress Can Affect Your Sleep
These stressful feelings can affect your sleep cycle, causing restless sleep or trouble falling asleep. A lack of sleep can create a cyclical pattern of fatigue.
When you’re tired, exercising is more challenging, which adds more stress to your daily life because you have even less time for yourself. It also makes it difficult to focus during work or school, making you feel overwhelmed as you can’t get much work done.
Stress Increases Your Risk of Heart Attack
Stress can impact your heart rate and increase your blood pressure. Stress, in general, puts a lot of pressure on the body. The body responds to stress by releasing hormones into the bloodstream. One of these hormones is adrenaline. It causes the heart rate to increase and blood pressure to rise.
A recent study showed that physical and mental stress could raise your chance of high cholesterol, stroke, or heart disease. Participants in the 2022 Interheart study were more likely to have a non-fatal heart attack or die due to a cardiovascular event caused by mental stress.
Stress Can Deteriorate Your Appearance
While some people view it as a cosmetic issue, hair loss and skin problems can significantly affect your emotional well-being.
Stress is a known trigger of hair loss. It can cause sudden hair loss or contribute to the progression of androgenic alopecia stages. Stress-induced hair loss affects both men and women. Your hair may even turn grey if you deal with too much stress.
Your skin also suffers from increased stress. High-stress levels can cause acne, wrinkles, and dry skin. When you’re stressed, your body produces more cortisol. This cortisol triggers your sebaceous glands to increase oil production, leading to clogged pores and breakouts. Stress also impairs skin barrier function and collagen production, resulting in premature skin aging.
Relax, It’s Good for You!
Stress is bad for your health. If you feel stressed, don’t wait to correct it. It’s time to learn how to reduce stress and live a healthier life. Relaxation is a state of mind, and there are several ways to achieve it. Here are some tips for how to destress:
Keep a regular bedtime schedule and wake up at the same time every morning. Try not to eat late at night before bed because this could cause indigestion. The bedroom should be a place that’s reserved for relaxing activities.
The constant buzzing and ringing from our phones and tablets can overstimulate our bodies. Try to remove technology from the bedroom and limit your time on electronic devices. This will give you more time to spend with your loved ones and improve your mental clarity.
Exercising is not just about staying fit. Exercise decreases cortisol and increases serotonin, your happy hormone, which can help you feel less anxious and more relaxed. Going out for a short walk can make a big difference in your mood.
Some Good News
The statistics are scary regarding stress and its impact on your body. But here’s some good news: the 2022 study that revealed stress increases your risk of heart attack also showed that exercising and disengaging from technology helped decrease stress levels.
So while stress is indeed bad for your physical health, there are some things you can do to lessen it and make your life easier. Talk to your doctor, therapist, or other healthcare professionals to set up an actionable plan today.