Top Ten Ways Stress Affects Your Health

Top Ten Ways Stress Affects Your Health

Are you feeling relentlessly stressed? Stress is something we all deal with on a regular basis, but when it starts to have a negative effect on your body and mind, it means you are distressed. There are two kinds of stress. The “good” stress is called eustress but we generally only hear about the “bad” stress known as chronic stress or distress.

“I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth diminishing your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.” ― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

Chronic stress gradually affects your health at first; in fact, you may not even notice the symptoms at all. If you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, he will jump right out of it. But if you put him in a cold pot of water and slowly raise the temperature to a boil, then what happens? And if the stress is not managed, the symptoms will get worse and its effects may even be irreversible. Here are ten ways in which stress may manifest itself in your body:

1. Depression.

When you are stressed out, it is very common for people to become depressed. There are only so many chemicals in the brain to help a person deal with stress, and when they are used up, they’re used up. This can lead to a person becoming profoundly depressed in what seems like a relatively short period of time.

2. Anxiety.

Those who are stressed are likely to deal with uncontrollable levels of anxiety. Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand, and this can cause many different changes in the physiological functioning of the body.

3. Heart disease.

Stress is very closely linked to heart attacks and death associated with cardiovascular disease. When stress is not managed, the body breaks down quickly and the heart is often profoundly impacted.

4. Heightened cholesterol levels

In the movies, people under intense stress dramatically keel over from a heart attack, but that’s extremely rare. The real danger is the accumulated impact of chronic stress, which contributes to each of the top five risk factors for developing heart disease: abnormal cholesterol levels, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and smoking.

5. Diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is one of the fastest growing epidemics in the world and both mental and physical stress can cause rapid fluctuations in blood sugar levels. The long-term effects associated with this include heart disease, blindness, liver problems, kidney disease, and more.

Top Ten Ways Stress Affects Your Health

6. Hair loss.

We often tease our friends and family when they begin to lose hair, but this can be a symptom of unmanaged stress. If your hair is falling out prematurely don’t blame genetics, look closely at how you are dealing with the stress in your life and see if there are things you can do to control it more effectively.

7. Alzheimer’s

Chronic stress can make your brain behave in an Alzheimer’s-like manner. Stress adversely affects a key structure in the brain, the hippocampus, leading to impaired memory and problems with orientation and sense of direction.

8. Obesity.

We often cope with stress by consuming unhealthy, fattening foods. Plus, stress prohibits the control of necessary chemicals that are needed to break down fat, which can lead to obesity.

9. Sexual dysfunction.

Stress is one of the most common reasons associated with impotence in men. What many people don’t know is that stress is a state of being that negatively impacts the body. In fact, stress has a bigger impact on our bodies than most of us realize or care to acknowledge.

10. You age Quicker.

Longstanding stress can cause you to age more quickly than normal. One study links chronic stress to faster ageing in otherwise healthy people — but on the bright side, the study also found that mood management and self-control against unhealthy behaviours (such as smoking and overeating) can help.

Facts about Stress and Your Body

There are some downright scary facts about the toll that stress takes on the body. When you look at these facts it is hard to deny that we all need to learn how to manage our stress more effectively. Some of these facts include:

* 43% of all adults have health problems related to stress
* 75-90% of all doctor visits are stress-related
* 82% of workers are at least a little stressed in the workplace
* Stress is known to cost American businesses more than $300 billion each year

By the way, if you put that frog into a pot of cold water and slowly raise the temperature to a boil, then he never notices the temperature growing dangerously hot, and he stays there until he is boiled alive. Don’t be like that frog.

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