Stress is the body’s response to an external change or situation, which manifests in the form of physical, mental or emotional reactions. The human body is physiologically programmed to face stressful situations and some amount of stress is considered constructive, in the sense that it keeps one alert.
However, too much stress can have a negative impact on our physical and mental health in the long run, giving us a number of reasons avoid it.
Here are 8 ways prolonged stress impacts vital body functions:
1. Stress And Your Heart
Research indicates that prolonged exposure to stress can lead to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Another stress related factor which can cause damage to the heart is that many people respond to stress by consuming comfort foods, smoking or drinkng alcohol.
All these factors combined with stress can be detrimental to the heart health.
2. Stress And The Brain
Stress is known to affect long term and short term memory. Stress can also lead to anxiety, anger and irritability. It can result in insomnia and tension related headaches. Studies have suggested that growing up in a stressful environment may shrink brain neurons and affect learning in children. Chronic stress has been linked to dementia and Alzheimers disease.
3. Stress And Aging
An unbelievable fact about stress is that it can accelerate aging. It can lead to appearance of wrinkles on the skin and cause hair fall and premature hair graying. Stress can also aggravate skin problems such as acne, psoriasis, rashes and eczema.
4. Adrenal Fatigue
The tiny glands located above the kidneys called the adrenal glands produce cortisol, the stress hormone. The production of this hormone is accelerated during stressful situations, which can result in problems such as depression and inflammation.
Cellular inflammation is known to be the root cause of several health conditions, including arthritis, diabetes and premature aging.
Another reason to avoid stress is that it can result in hypertension or high blood pressure, which usually shows no symptoms. Hypertension further elevates the risk of stroke, heart failure and kidney disease. There is also evidence which links stress with insulin dependent diabetes in people who are at higher risk of this disease.
6. Stress Related Muscular Pains
Muscular pain is the body’s natural reaction to stress. Stress can aggravate problems such as backache, shoulder and neck pain, and migraine headaches, which can last for days.
Though no direct link has been established between stress and infertility, studies have shown that people are more likely to conceive in situations without stress and fertility treatments show a higher rate of success at these times.
Stress is known to make a person more vulnerable to infections, leading to lower immunity and increasing the incidence of allergies as well as autoimmune diseases, such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Stress also slows down the process of recovery from disease.
How To Deal With Stress
Although we cannot completely remove stress from our personal or professional lives, we can mitigate stressful situations by consciously working on aspects that lead us to overwhelming moments. Here are some ways you can minimize your exposure to stress:
1. Planning things and adhering to a routine at work and at home helps one feel in control and reduces the possibility of last-minute stress causing situations.
2. When faced with a stressful situation, moving away from the scene gives one the opprtunity to view the situation from a new perspective, easing tension and anxiety.
3, Practicing Yoga and meditation helps calm the mind. For individuals who find meditation difficult, simply retreating to a quiet place, going for a stroll or listening to music may work just as well.
4. Seeking a second opinion on matters can sometimes provide solutions that we may not be able reach ourselves.
5. Lastly, research has proved that healthy eating and an active lifestyle have a direct impact on our state of mind, and thus, how we deal with tricky situations. Exercising everyday and mindful eating lead to physical and emotional wellbeing.
Do share in comments below how you deal with stressful situations in life. If you have an experience to share with our readers, click here.