Today, there is hardly a person not suffering from stress, whether it’s caused by problems at work, relationship issues, health problems, or something else. Stress is extremely hard to avoid, and in some cases, even harder to deal with. It can affect all aspects of your life, and it can affect both your physical and mental health. Moreover, stress can very often lead to long-term consequences if not dealt with on time. With all that in mind, if you’d like to know more, here’s how stress can affect both your body and your mind.
You’re constantly tense
When your hypothalamus releases adrenaline and cortisol, which are the stress hormones, your blood rushes to the areas of your body where it’s needed the most. It’s necessary for the “fight or flight” situations because it enables you to react quickly. However, if your body releases too many of these hormones and too often, it gets thrown out of balance. It becomes stuck in the fight or flight state, and this leads to constant anxiety. Needless to say, this can result in many other problems, from the lack of focus and productivity to eating disorders and social withdrawal.
You can have trouble breathing
The above-mentioned fight or flight response also makes you breathe faster in order to distribute blood to the right areas quickly enough. This means that if you happen to have asthma or some other respiratory problem, stress can make that problem even worse. It can also increase your blood pressure, and if it stays too high for too long, your heart may not be able to handle the amount of necessary work. In other words, you may have a heart attack or stroke.
You can have trouble eating and digesting
As mentioned, stress can cause eating disorders. Stress eating, for example, is a well-known term that refers to eating when something is bothering you emotionally even though you’re not actually hungry. Similarly, stress can also make you lose your appetite completely. Both of these disorders can affect your body. Moreover, even if you can still eat normally, too much stress can affect the way all that food moves through your digestive system. In other words, it can lead to either diarrhea or constipation, which can also be accompanied by nausea and stomachache.
How to fight stress
There are more than a few ways to combat stress. First, in order to choose the right means of fighting stress, you need to understand why you are stressed out. Then, you need to accept your feelings, but don’t let them overwhelm you. Also, if you notice that stress is starting to make you feel depressed, don’t hesitate to seek professional help, as depression could make your health deteriorate even further.
As for the things you can do on your own, you should consider taking up a new hobby. It can be anything from sports to arts, as long as you find it enjoyable. It would give you something to focus on and look forward to, which can take your mind off whatever is stressing you out. It can also be a good way to relax, especially if the hobby you choose requires patience, like drawing or gardening. Some hobbies can also help you with the physical consequences of stress.
You should also consider changing your environment. For example, if the main cause of stress in your life is your job, can you change it? Or, if you’re dealing with too much conflict at the office, is there an option of working from home? Changing your environment can provide you with a different point of view, which can reduce your anxiety.
Finally, there are also some, a bit more indirect techniques, like meditation, yoga, and mindfulness exercises. They might not be for everybody, as they do require a lot of effort – but that effort is very often worth it. Plus, they can also be done in groups, which means that you’d get an additional boost of motivation from your group. More importantly, though, if stress made you withdraw from the society, signing up for group sessions could help you re-enter it. So, they are definitely worth a try.
All in all, stress comes in many shapes and forms, but it’s always harmful, and it’s very often hard to beat. It affects you both physically and emotionally, and it can leave you with long-term scars that often take a long time to heal.
That being said, beating stress not impossible, and there are many effective ways of relieving it. From finding a new hobby to occupy your mind to simply finding somebody who understands what you’re going through, have no doubt that you can control your stress levels. Therefore, think about the listed effects of stress and ways to fight it, apply the suggestions that you think could work for you, and have no doubt that the results will show sooner or later.