How Stress Affects Health?
I think we cannot estimate properly “how stress affects health” due to its ability to cause long-term serious health issues to your body. But, indeed, we can feel it. Some of the daily life situations keep us going and are positive stresses. For instance, preparing for exams, appearing in an interview, starting a new job, being in a relationship. These situations keep us healthy and active.
But in the worst case, even daily life stressors become a problem for us. We feel anxious and taking stress becomes our second nature. Before getting into details that how stress affects health, let’s see some of the common examples of stress.
Common Examples of Stress
Stress is insidious and we often don’t know it’s happening to us. Imagine when your kid screams loud and you feel stressed while being unable to control his tantrums. When your boss keeps nagging you about the project deliverables and you couldn’t focus on your work.
Furthermore, when you hear the death news of your loved ones. Not to forget the pregnancy discomforts which can spark stress. In addition to this, the start of a new job, new relationships, or moving to a new city and a new country also induces waves of anxiety.
Hence, if stress keeps firing repeatedly without effective management, our health silently suffers and develops serious issues.
Why We Undergo stress?
Let us see the scientific explanation of the impact of stress on the body. In simple words, stress is an emotional strain. When we feel threatened, our brain releases stress hormones. It is the reaction of the brain to fight against the situation.
But when we remain under stress for the long term then other stress-associated problems arise and we may develop severe depression. Also, we can be vulnerable to a weakened immune system due to stress.
It would be relevant to note that “It’s not stress that kills us; it is our reaction to it.” Even the common effects of stress can badly affect your health. For instance, some people start emotionally eating under stress which leads to obesity or cholesterol issues in the body.
Why does this happen? It is because we fail to manage the harmful stress and don’t know ways to relieve stress. Here we will see stress definition, its causes, and ways to relieve stress.
Is stress always bad? No, stress is not always bad. Eustress is a beneficial form of stress. It’s the brain alert to the body about the danger or new situation. In addition to work as an alert, it also supports many functionalities in the body and plays its part to keep us motivated and competitive.
Consider that you are competing against someone or doing some assignment within the given time, the stress hormones keep you going and bring out the best from you in the last moments.
But if you keep worrying about everything around you and feel stressed always then it can ruin your relationships, work-life balance, and health. By understanding the causes of stress, we can make an effective plan to reduce stress or signs of stress.
Causes of Stress
Life brings lots of challenges, but even so, we can expect to pass it happily. Though, we are suffered from many conditions that are beyond our abilities and capabilities. But nature also opens up ways to cope with those conditions.
In doing so, we take the pressure and often exhibit signs of stress. This stress can be emotional in the first place. But later on, with age and other issues, it can take a toll on our health.
The best chance is preparedness for everything that could come up in life and avoids shocking situations. But as we fail to do so, therefore, we feel and suffer stress and anxiety. Lets us have a quick overview of different causes of stress.
1- Environmental Effects
We are now more exposed to pesticides, toxins, environmental and climate changes that take a toll on our health. The body indirectly develops stress. Several new forms of the virus have been discovered.
Among the coronavirus being the notorious one also known as COVID-19 have emerged. The whole world developed the signs of stress which were expressed by social media posts and news platforms.
Health care practitioners are still stressed due to direct dealing with patients. Up to the present time as the pandemic is going on and we cannot imagine the stress levels after it ends.
2- Work-related Stress
Job-related stress is quite common. The workplace environment, relationships with colleagues and boss, competition, work politics, and the ability to perform well all are major factors that can cause stress.
Not only the job issues but even the retirement process often leads to stress for many people.
3- Change or Starting Something New in Life:
The most common stress is the start of a relationship, job project, or anything new in life. The inability of fast adaptability and acceptance of change in life creates stress. The start of becoming a parent is also stressful for many couples. That’s more a societal pressure to become good parents.
4- Financial Situation
It is a very common stress factor. The country’s economic conditions, job market situations, inflation rates, lack of job opening causes stress among the workforce. This is very true for the whole world due to the current coronavirus pandemic, changing world dynamics.
Undoubtedly, COVID-19 was the most disastrous event that still ongoing in many countries making it a deadly and extremely stressful pandemic. That’s how stress affects your health when you are vulnerable to disease as well as stress simultaneously.
Mostly life events like accidents, divorces, and deaths are major causes of stress. Likewise, surgeries and pregnancies cause lots of stress. It is important to realize that body’s nervous system works in fight mode, releases stress hormones, and inhibits the growth hormones, affects sleep, and disturbs the whole balance of the body.
That’s how stress affects health after major life events. For some people, it seems that for some people life traps in those short spans of accidents and don’t believe in recovery.
6- Nutritional Deficiency Stress
Last but not least is the role of food choices and pesticides and herbicides. Youngsters are addicted to fast food. Unhealthy food choices pose the threat of food allergies, sensitivities. nutritional deficiency and hormonal imbalance. Fast food addiction ends up with emotional eating, obesity, poor digestive health, cancer, and severe life-threatening issues.
As we have seen the major causes of stress, it is important to list down the most common signs of stress to find out effective ways to relieve stress. We have divided the stress symptoms into three main categories to have a complete understanding of the type of stress.
Signs/symptoms of Stress
1- Cognitive stress signs or symptoms:
Firstly, we will see the cognitive symptoms that affect health
Anxiousness or nervousness
Pessimist approach towards life
Poor decision making
Lack of concentration
Lack of objective judgment
2- Physical symptoms of stress:
Likewise, there are physical symptoms of stress:
1- Being lethargic
3- Fast heartbeat
4- Gastric symptoms Like diarrhea, constipation, nausea
5- Muscular pain and sprain
7- Low immunity levels in the body
8- Nervousness, Wet and sweaty hands, and feet
9- Clenched jaw
10- Lack of sexual urge
3- Emotional stress symptoms:
1- Emotional eating
5- Low sex drive
6- Low self-esteem issues
7- Anti-social behavior
How to Reduce Stress Levels?
How to reduce chronic stress?
A fact about stress is that it is the root cause of maximum problems in the human body. Stress factors not only come from outside but also inside the body. Either it is due to job or life events, it is around us and bothering us all the time. I have summarized the key points to give a holistic view of effective stress management.
1- Be active
Activity reduces stress. Exercise can help you get positive. For instance, anaerobic exercise fights depression and elevates your mood.
2- Sleep well
Sleep well to reduce the stress level
3- Limit caffeine intake
Avoid or limit the tea, coffee, and energy drinks. Instead you can try anti-inflammatory smoothie recipes for breakfast and as drinks.
4- Stay close with friends and family
A sense of belonging and social bonds reduce the low moods. Express your love with your family and friends and satisfy emotional attachment needs.
Communication helps to clear doubts and reduces stress
6- Eat well
People start emotionally eating when stressed. So, eat well and satisfy your tummy to avoid emotional eating. You can try having foods that have anti-inflammatory properties. For instance, download and consult this anti-inflammatory foods infographic to make your meals.
7- Do yoga
Yoga is a mood enhancer. It is also helpful for mental health. It is strongly recommended for deep cleansing your aura from negative effects.
8- Deep breathing
When you deep breathe it fills your stomach with maximum air and activates the nervous system relaxation response. As a result, you feel more peaceful and calmer.
9- Using powerful scents
Lavender and Jasmine help to reduce stress. They fill your surroundings with positive energy and make you feel good. You can use these scents in your natural detox bath soak recipes too.
Distress or Eustress
The upshot of this discussion is that you can make your stress either distress or eustress. Life is always challenging. Adapting to change and motivating your brain through some of the above techniques will cleanse your aura and induce positive energy in you. You can effectively manage your stress through yoga, meditation, and healthy relationship habits.