More often than not, we tend to think that stress is only in our minds and different from our bodies. However, you function as an entire unit, which means that if one area is not entirely well, your entirety is affected as well. Not to mention, our minds are our central control unit. To further understand that, allow us to explain to you the link between stress and your body.
How Does Stress Affect the Body?
You may not notice it, but your body’s physical functions respond to stress as well. For instance, an elevation of the stress hormones increases our heart rate and heightens our blood pressure. If there’s one thing you need to know about these two, it is the fact that they are theleading causes of stroke and heart failure.
Because stress often involves anxiety and frustration, your muscles tend to tense up. This results in constant exhaustion despite not doing any form of physical activity. If this happens regularly, stress may branch out to othermuscle-related problems or disorders.
Another physical reaction to stress is difficulty in breathing. Thus, our blood cells do not get enough oxygen supply, which often causes respiratory distress. Although this does not pose a threat to generally healthy people, stress can worsen any underlying respiratory disease for others.
Health Risks of Stress
Aside from heart illnesses and lung-related problems, there is quite a long list of the issues caused by stress. While some of these are direct results, others are caused by our coping mechanisms or symptoms that were not attended to immediately. That being said, below are the most common health risks of stress.
There is plenty of evidence that people who constantly experience stress resort to eating to cope. However, an unregulated and unhealthy diet often leads to obesity. Plus, our bodies tend to produce higher cortisol levels, which causes the fat in our abdomen to increase.
Building upon the coping mechanism of eating, one of the most common stress relievers for lots of people are sweets. Alcohol consumption also tends to increase in people who are constantly under stress. These negative behaviors are worsened because our bodies’ level of glucose heightens, which eventually leads to type 2 diabetes.
One of the most common health risks of stress, and it comes with no surprise, is depression. This is because stress specifically targets our minds and weakens our mental capacity to think rationally. People who receive less or no reward for their efforts are more susceptible to developdepression caused by stress.
Different Ways to Manage Stress
The most important thing you need to remember about stress management is that taking the necessary steps to prevent it should be done early on before it worsens. Nonetheless, below are some effective ways that will help you reduce your stress levels.
Seek Professional Help
The most effective solution to stress or any mental health-related problem is to seek professional help. We go to physicians when we experience physical illnesses, and it should be the same for our mental well-being. If you do not have the funds to do so, talking about what you’re experiencing to a friend or relative may also be helpful. However, if you’ve developed certain conditions because of stress, you must see a doctor. For example, seekingprofessional help foralcohol addiction treatmentshould be on your priority list.
Meditation is another effective way to manage your stress since it is generally about taking complete control of your mind and body. Sometimes, we tend to feel overwhelmed by the load of tasks that we have to do, and this alone can be the trigger to feel stressed. Meditation helps in being mindful of our thought processes, thus reducing our stress levels.
You will hear from a lot of people that exercising can significantly reduce stress. However, it’s important to note that the effects of exercise are only experienced when you work out regularly. All that aside, exercising promotes our bodies’ secretion of various hormones responsible for positive emotions.
You know of the adage that goes, “you are what you eat,” and that is especially true for your mental health. If you tend to eat unhealthy foods, your brain will not have enough nutrients to function correctly. Make sure that you stick to a healthy diet and include vitamins or stress supplements.
Stress is good for you, but only to a certain degree. If the stress you’re experiencing causes you more problems and not growth, make sure that you know how to handle it.