We all experience stress; it is normal to go through it, but how we handle our stress can play a significant role in our health. So how does stress affect our bodies? Stress can negatively affect our bodies both mentally and physically. When stress is not managed well, it can cause more severe issues to occur.
Statistics on Stress in Americans
According to The American Institute of Stress: 77% of Americans experience stress that affects their physical health, 73% of Americans have stress that impacts their mental health, AND 48% percent of Americans have trouble sleeping at night due to stress. Those numbers are HUGE! So what can you do?
The first step in dealing with stress is determining the factors causing it.
What Triggers Stress?
- Illness or disease
- Big life events
The Emotional Effects
Stress can trigger several emotional responses like anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. We often stress about things that have not even happened yet. When we do this, we are almost putting ourselves through the stressor twice; even when we do not know for a fact, this situation will end up as stressful as we may think.
The Physical Effects of Stress
A constant state of stress can become very unhealthy for anyone dealing with it. Stress physically presents itself in the form of headaches, fatigue, chest pains, high blood pressure, low sex drive, stomach and dietary concerns, and issues sleeping at night. When your body deals with these issues regularly, it can cause more serious problems to arise in the future. That is why it is so important we learn how to manage our stressors.
The Impact of Stress
We all know stress is a normal part of life, but when it is not properly dealt with and it becomes more long-term these signs and symptoms can turn into more serious conditions. Long-term, unmanaged stress can turn into a number of serious conditions, including:
- Depression and anxiety
- High blood pressure
- Arrhythmia (abnormal heart beat)
- Heart Disease
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- Heart attack
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- Drastic weight changes (gain or loss)
- Loss of sex-drive and fertility issues
- Arthritis flares
- Skin conditions
This is just to name a few. We cannot “stress” enough the importance of properly handling our stress. We understand that it may be easier said than done, but it is something we should all be actively working towards.
Stress is perceived differently by everyone. Some of the most common stressors are:
Ways to Reduce Stress
- Get Active: Physical activity helps to increase your “feel-good” endorphins.
- Eat Healthier: Incorporating healthy foods into your diet has emotional and physical benefits to help you feel your best.
- Reduce Unhealthy Habits: Avoid smoking and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol and caffeine, these can actually cause more stress and anxiety.
- Find a Creative Outlet: Find something you enjoy that refocuses your mind off your stressors. Great creative outlets examples could be: playing a musical instrument, journaling, painting, drawing, sewing, and gardening.
- Get Fresh Air: Take a walk or sit outside for a bit and feel the warmth of the sun or feel the nice breeze.
- Breath: Practicing yoga or meditation is a great way to focus on your breathing, which helps bring you into a more calm state of mind.
- Seek Counseling: If you find it hard to incorporate these things into your life, counseling may be a good option to help guide you to better deal with your stress.
The Effects of Stress and Your Hormones
Hormones play a big part in our health and well-being. Hormones regulate:
- Heart rate
- and MORE
When we are consistently under stress this can have an negative effect on our hormone production. If our hormones become off-balance it can cause several of the issues we have discussed in the above paragraphs to occur. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can help to re-balance your hormones to help alleviate the negative effects of stress. HRT is know to:
- Improve Strength & Performance
- Increase Energy & Endurance
- Decrease Belly Fat & Fatigue
- Increase Libido & Metabolism
- Improve Sleep & Mental Clarity