Eating Disorders

How Stress Can Affect Your Body

Stress has become a way of life for most of us! Being alive and trying to live a full life in the 21st century makes every day a saga of stress. Every single action or decision has to deal with mental and emotional roadblocks, traffic jams, noise, deadlines, frustrations, and hassles, all stressors that set your blood pressure high. More and more, you are feeling the effects of this daily stress on your body and mind.

Although small doses of can act as energizers, and motivators, helping you to perform better, the physiological effects of long-term and heavy stress are neither pretty nor healthy! Your mind, your psyche, and your body, will end up paying a heavy price for a high-powered lifestyle, unless you can control and deal with stress.

The physical effects of stress can leave you overwhelmed. The body’s natural response to perceived threat, stress causes the nervous system to release a number of coping hormones like adrenaline and cortisol to enable the body to deal with any emergency action that might become necessary. In the short-term, the physiological effects of stress can include elevated heart rates and blood pressure, tightening of muscles, and hyperventilation – a quickening and shortening of breath. This is the biological tool to increase strength, elevate stamina, and sharpen reflexes for a short time. If continued long-term, and if it becomes constant, this elevated stress level can cause enormous harm.

Beyond a point, the physical and physiological effects of stress can cause major health damage, and loss of productivity. Continuous stress is one of the largest contributors to the increase in modern maladies such as hypertension, obesity, and diabetes. Psychologically, stress causes behavioral problems including comfort eating and binge eating, also contributing to the alarming increase in weight gain among younger people, and kids.

Your brain, your immune system, your heart, and your metabolism are all susceptible to these physiological effects of constant stress. Stress affects the formative growth of children, brain function, (excessive levels of cortisol hamper neuron activity). Long-term lags in neuron activity may lead to withering and death of brain cells, causing damage to your short-term memory, affecting judgment, and reducing learning ability!

Other effects include suppression of the immune system, making you susceptible to numerous opportunistic infections. Increase in chances of suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, and cancer. Increased adrenalin levels from regular stress cause spikes in blood pressure and heart rate puts you at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Other common stress related conditions can range from ulcers, headaches, depression, and fatigue, to unmanageable anger; from irritability, eating disorders, and alcohol and substance abuse, to digestive problems, sleep disorders, and obesity; skin conditions like eczema, and so much more.

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