We know how stress can affect us mentally and emotionally. It can make us feel anxious and overwhelmed. It can make our tempers short and cause us to feel depressed. But how does stress affect your health?
When you are feeling stressed, certain stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, are released into your system. This is fine in short doses. It can even be beneficial. However, if your stress is prolonged, and these hormones keep getting pumped into your symptoms, they can actually cause damage to your body and your health.
It’s common knowledge that too much stress can negatively affect your blood pressure. But it can impact your health in other negative ways, too.
Your Immune System
When you are under stress, your body might shut down or suppress some of your systems. This is its way of giving you fewer things to worry about. For instance, many women in stressful situations might stop having a menstrual cycle for a month or two, or even longer.
Unfortunately, prolonged stress can also partially suppress your immune system, which can make you susceptible to illnesses and infections.
People who are stressed out often end up getting sick or run down. Which makes it even harder to deal with daily challenges, and makes them feel even more stressed.
Digestive problems are common in those under extreme stress. Those feeling stressed shouldn’t be surprised to find themselves suffering from diarrhoea, heartburn, or indigestion.
People dealing with stressful situations, like a divorce or break-up, the loss of a loved one, or a job they hate, often find themselves eating more and putting on weight. Many often assume this is because people sometimes eat more to comfort themselves. But, while this can be true, there is also a physical reason for the weight gain.
Stress causes hormonal changes in the body. And these hormonal changes can actually increase your appetite. You eat more not just because you are feeling sad, but also because your body is telling you that you need to eat more.
Stress can also cause other problems, like insomnia, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, and erratic mood swings. It can make it hard for you to concentrate at work, and even harder for you to remember important dates and appointments. It can also make skin conditions, like acne, eczema, and psoriases even worse than before.
So how does stress affect your health? Potentially, it can affect it in all sorts of negative ways. That is why learning to manage and relieve your stress should be your top priority.