Something we may not all be aware of is the health impacts of stress. Stress can impact our body in a number of ways and have significant impact on our health if endured long term.
Don’t get me wrong a little bit of stress can be beneficial. When we need to react quickly or need adrenaline to deal with a situation, stress can be beneficial. As can the stress added to our body from exercise. It is long term chronic stress that can cause significant issues.
When stress occurs in the body it creates numerous physiological responses. Examples include increased heart rate, faster breathing, higher blood pressure and muscle tightness. Once the stress has passed however, these then usually go back to baseline levels. But, we now live in such a fast paced world, with many demands and little downtime, that it is easy to maintain elevated levels. Especially in today’s world and the current health epidemic.
The result of long term elevated stress can result in impacts to the body physically, mentally and emotionally.
Health Impacts of Stress
Physical symptoms of long term chronic stress include headaches, low energy, tense muscles, digestive issues, low libido, insomnia and reduced immunity to colds and flu’s.
Emotionally, those suffering from chronic stress may feel agitated, have a short attention span, be unable to relax, tend to avoid others and have lower self esteem.
Mentally individuals may turn more to drugs and alcohol, may be forgetful, have a negative outlook on life, may constantly worry and make poorer choices than normal.
Long term these impacts can result in depression, anxiety, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, drug addiction, food and eating disorders, sexual dysfunction, menstrual issues and reduced appearance in skin and hair.
It is always best to recognize times of stress and implement preventative strategies before it impacts health in more damaging ways. You can read some of my recommendations here that I have personally used to manage my own stress.
When it comes to weight loss, elevated stress can inhibit weight loss in some individuals due to increased levels of cortisol. This change in cortisol secretion may not only promote weight gain, but it can also affect where fat is deposited in the body. Some studies have shown that stress and elevated cortisol tend to cause excess fat being deposited in the abdominal area, which has many other health risks.
In the article above, one of the key elements I use to manage my stress levels, apart from exercise, are adaptogens. They have made a significant difference to me. You can learn more about them here if you wish.
We can’t always avoid stressful situations but we can implement strategies to deal with it better. Not only does this make us happier it also reduces further health complications.
What strategies can you implement into your life today?