How Stress Can Actually Hurt Your Body (And Not Just Your Mind)

shutterstock_73290586

“This day isn’t going to end well.”

Once again, you’re getting that old familiar feeling that somehow –today isn’t going to pan out how you had planned.  In fact, you would almost prefer that the sky would just fall already.  Why?

Well, if it did, then you wouldn’t have to deal with a boss that’s been hovering over your cubicle all afternoon, battling through four lanes of abuse we like to call ‘traffic’, finally get home and pay overdue bills this evening (whilst shoveling down a cold TV dinner), miss your favorite prime time –because it took you an extra two hours to pay the bills, and then attempt to sleep…

…but really just lay in bed awake, because you’re already dreading the hovering boss’s condescending coffee breath when the sun comes up.

Ah, the joys of modern existence in the 21st century.

 

You’re Sacrificing More Than Just Happiness

Ok, but if I told you that you really do need to unwind, relax, and shake off your stress, you might think, “Seriously, this writer doesn’t know my life… why should I listen?”

This is a fair criticism, no doubt about it!  However, I’m here to tell you that stress is taking far more from you than just your happiness.  It’s actually hurting your health.

When you become stressed, and you don’t give yourself a chance to find relief and release –then what happens to you is what the white coats in the medical community call “distress”.  This is the body’s negative reaction to stress, and the affects are actually quite potent.

There’s a reason why 75 to 90-percent of all doctor’s visits are due to stress-related health problems, according to WebMD.com.

 

Fight or Flight

Adrenaline and Cortisol: these are the two main hormones your body produces when it perceives a threat.  They are smashingly good chemicals to have flowing through your system if you’re being attacked by a horde of rabid badgers.  Essentially, these hormones are the primary forward thrusters for the old trusty fight or flight mode.

When your brain thinks its body is under threat, your bloodstream is flooded with adrenaline and Cortisol –kind of like NOS for a street racer.

First, your adrenaline puts your mind and body into hyperdrive to reach maximum immediate efficiency.  Cortisol plays defense, by lowering efficiency for digestive, reproductive, and immune systems –but transferring those resources into repairing tissues.  Essentially, it’s a hormone that is meant to help the body heal after the badger attack.

Again, this is great if you’re James Bond –but for the rest of us who are NOT dodging bullets on a regular basis, this can make for a very nasty, brutish, and short existence.  According to Health.com, when running on overdrive for an extended period of time –you can expect the following:

  • Hypertension – Do you know how when you’re suddenly startled, you feel your heart racing like a banshee?  Thank your flight or fight mode for that –and now imagine your heart doing that constantly throughout an entire workweek.  See what I mean?
  • Unhealthy food cravings – The body needs all the calories it can get for the coming badger horde.
  • Fat storage – See: “Unhealthy food cravings”.
  • Heart problems –This could also be the result of the unhealthy diet, in addition to the elevated blood pressure overtime.

shutterstock_173862176

  • Insomnia – No rest for the stressed.
  • Headaches – Hypertension and adrenaline are major factors here.  This is what happens when your brain is running constantly on NOS.
  • Hair loss – Again, thank Cortisol for sucking the life from your immune system.  When this happens, your hair tends to go with it.
  • Reproductive problems – If you’re preggers… then you absolutely need to slow down and relax!  Stress has been known to cause premature birth, and even harm your precious one’s developing brain.  Also, because Cortisol has sapped resources from your reproductive systems, this has been known to affect couples from getting pregnant in the first place.
  • Tummy aches and bowel issues – This problem is already a very well known effect of stress.  Hypertension via adrenaline overload doesn’t do nice things for your stomach, and Cortisol decreases its efficiency.  The result: ulcers, IBS, diarrhea, and even nausea.
  • Complexion problems and aging – Ever notice how stress makes you look less radiant?  Well, it’s not just a feeling, it’s actually happening.
  • Back, joint, and muscle pain – A major mechanism of fight or flight mode is preparing for possible physical threat, so your muscles need to be at the ready.  On a constant basis, this will wreak havoc on your back and joints.  This is why the most stressed among look as though they’re carrying the weight of the world… it’s because to them, they truly feel like they are.
  • The common cold – As I said, Cortisol is an immune system killer.  Though you’re prepared for immediate threats, the microscopic ones can have their way with your body much easier.

And that’s not even the worst of it.  These are just the negative physical symptoms of distress on your body –but your brain takes the brunt of the beating that stress can dish out.

 

This Is Your Brain …And This Is Your Brain On Stress.

It’s often difficult to know exactly how stress can directly affect brain function and development, simply because the brain is like a biological supercomputer.  However, when stress wreaks havoc on brain function and makeup, it’s what inflicts the most potent detrimental affects on both health and wellbeing.

As I mentioned hypertension in that horrifyingly long list above –you probably already know that high blood pressure is closely linked to an elevated risk of stroke.  Heart disease and stroke tend to go hand in hand, but because Cortisol has so much of an affect on brain function …stroke becomes a very real concern.

Also, when the brain isn’t working normally and receiving the supplies it needs (due to blood flow problems in the brain); then all of those complex neurological processes can get bogged down.

Memory loss is one of those problems that have been linked to stress, and it is possible that this problem could merely be the psychological result of your mind focusing on the threat (while failing to store other necessary information).

shutterstock_101520898

Though, according to an online article from Boston University’s Neuroscience Program, they actually found a very real correlation between obesity and brain function.  Memory loss and even dementia has been closely linked to obesity, and in this article, they’ve also discussed that Cortisol causes people to store excess fat –thereby having a direct and increased effect on chances of stroke, memory loss, and dementia.

In fact, it is known that stress can even trigger seizures.  While we’re still not completely sure why –I’m going to take a wild guess and say that it probably has something to do with Cortisol.

 

Awesome.  Well, Now I’ve Stressed You Out.

Quite frankly, I do think it is a bit ironic that I just told you about a million different health problems, which stress can cause –and I’ve probably just stressed you out even more.  So, here’s what I want you to do:

I want you to think about your priorities: what is really important to you?  Often times, we get stressed out, simply because we feel lost and unsure of why we fight so hard to climb a mountain we didn’t really care about in the first place.

Also, here’s another idea: think about what you like to do to relieve the stress, the aches, and the pains of this life.

  • First, tell us what you do to shake off the stress –and be sure to leave it in the comment section it below.  The more ideas we can get, the better off we’ll all be!
  • Second, don’t sit there a minute longer.  Whatever fun, relaxing, or just plain lazy activity you just wrote in the comments …I now want you to put that in your calendar.

Don’t let daily life rob you of a single healthy day.  Now that you know how stress can really hurt you; perhaps that might push you over the edge …into taking some much needed time for yourself.

Kerry Gaynor

Kerry’s purpose and overarching objective in developing his Method since he began thirty years ago has always been the same: to help save lives. Addictions or ailments, whether it is smoking cigarettes or over eating, can feel a lot like being a prisoner or a slave to your addiction. Kerry has experienced so much fulfillment from helping people unchain themselves from their addictions that it is the only thing he has ever cared to do since his very first client.

Comments

comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>