It's normal to feel occasional stress. However, if you are under constant pressure and are unable to cope with it, your risk of developing many serious illnesses increases. Here are some things you should know about stress, how it can affect your body, and what you can do to reduce it.
Causes of Stress
The stress trigger for every person is different. Many surveys indicate that work stresses top the list, and over 40% of people in the U.S experience work stress. Of these, almost 25 % say that it is the most significant stress of all. Aside from this, relationship problems, financial worries, and concerns about children's education and their overall wellbeing are some of the other stress-causing factors in people's lives.
The Effects of Stress
Stress can affect your body in many ways, and here we take a look at what some of these are:
- Joints and Muscles
Stressful living can cause soreness, pain, spasms, or tightness in your muscles. It can also result in the flare-ups of symptoms of fibromyalgia, arthritis, and other conditions because stress tends to lower your pain threshold.
It also has a significantly adverse effect on your digestive system. Stress can cause simple symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, gas and pain, and more complex ones such as GERD (acid reflux) as well as irritable bowel syndrome, both of which are chronic conditions.
- Heart and lungs
High levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) can cause a worsening of heart and lung conditions. These include asthma, hypertension, stroke, and heart disease. If you have heart palpitations or tightness or pain in your chest, you must visit your doctor without delay.
- Hair and Skin
High levels of stress can cause hair loss. If you have skin conditions such as psoriasis, rosacea, or eczema, stress can cause it to worsen. Various stressors can also lead to itchiness, hives, and excessive sweating.
- Immune system
The only way your body can fight disease is if you have a robust immune system. However, stress will only weaken your body's natural defenses and make you more prone to catching a cold or the flu. It can also worsen autoimmune conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease or lupus.
- Mental Health
Stress can cause symptoms such as depression and can lower enthusiasm levels. Some people lose their appetite or desire to exercise when they are stressed. It only aggravates the symptoms and makes them less enthusiastic about doing things.
- Head and jaw and Shoulders
In the medical field, the head, jaw, and shoulder area is referred to as the tension triangle. Stress has an impact on these parts of the anatomy and can cause tightness in the jaw and neck, spasms in the shoulders, knots in the neck. It also acts as a trigger for tension headaches and a jaw disorder called TMJ.
How to Manage Stress
We live in a fast-paced world, and stress is inevitable for many. However, the good news is that it can be managed. There are many ways in which you can take charge of your physical and mental health, and this can reduce the impact of stress on your life. Some things you should focus on doing include:
- Eat nutritious and well-balanced meals
- Stay away from processed, fast foods
- Exercise regularly
- Take some time out to meditate
- Establish a well-designed self-care routine
- Learn mindfulness
When you do these things regularly, you will find that you are less tired or stressed. As you start to care for your body, mind, and spirit, you will feel energetic and rejuvenated enough to face every day enthusiastically.