The Scary Ways Stress Affects Our Health. Pt 1


Photo: Simran Sood

Welcome Back to the LETS TALK ABOUT STRESS series!

It’s no secret that stress takes a toll on our mental and emotional health, but did you know  it can also wreak havoc on our physical health? In fact, stress is a major contributing factor to many of the most common health concerns, from heart disease to obesity. So what exactly happens to our bodies when we’re stressed? And more importantly, what can we do to combat the negative effects of stress?

Chronic stress can take a toll on your body, causing  a variety of symptoms. You may experience:
Headaches
Muscle tension or pain
Chest pain
Fatigue
Digestive problems
Sleep problems

We will divide this segment in two parts, for the sake of time and attention span. Today, we will look at how stress affects our mental, emotional, social wellbeing and sleep habits, as well as useful coping mechanisms. Part two concludes by examining the affects on diet and eating habits, overall wellbeing.

Stress is a normal part of life, but it can take a toll on your mental health. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or just not yourself, stress could very well be the culprit. Chronic stress can lead to problems like anxiety, depression, and trouble sleeping. It can also make physical health problems worse.

If you’re struggling to cope with stress, there are things you can do to feel better. Talking to a therapist can help. So can exercise, relaxation techniques, and making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep.

How Stress affects your emotional health
When we’re stressed, our bodies release a hormone called Cortisol. Cortisol helps us regulate our metabolism, but when we’re constantly under stress, it can have a negative impact on our emotional health.

Studies have shown Cortisol can cause symptoms of anxiety and depression, and interfere with our ability to form new memories and concentrate. In addition, cortisol wears down our immune system, making us more susceptible to illness. 

Exercise is a great way to reduce stress levels, spending time with friends and family can also help. If you’re still finding it difficult to cope, it’s important to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

How Stress affects your social health
Chronic stress can have negative effects on your social life. You can become withdrawn and irritable, anxious and depressed, which in turn negatively affects your relationships. It is important to make time for yourself, and focus on your mental and emotional health.

How Stress affects your sleep.
Stress can cause us to have trouble falling or staying asleep, and it can lead to restless nights. Over time, you can suffer from sleep deprivation. Stress hormones like cortisol, can make it hard to fall and stay asleep. Cortisol is a hormone that helps us deal with stress, but it also makes us more alert and can keep us awake at night. Racing thoughts and worry keeps us awake at night. Physical symptoms like headaches or muscle tension are not uncommon.

There are a few things you can do to try to improve your sleep. First, try to stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends. Second, create a relaxing bedtime routine; taking a warm bath or reading a book. And finally, try some relaxation techniques like deep breathing or visualization before bedtime.

Let me know if you found any of these suggestions helpful!

To Your Success,
Juan

 

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