How Stress Can Affect Your Health

Stress Affects Health

This post has been updated

There are ways that stress can affect you, physical, emotional, and behavioral manifestations of stress are all possible. Here are some of the ways that stress can become a real issue within your life.

  1. Emotional

Stress may affect your emotions. Some of the more common emotional manifestations of stress include:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety and worry
  • Feeling overwhelmed

When you feel overly stressed, experts say you tend to react to small things in a big way, in other words, problems seem bigger than they actually are. Each issue you have to deal with, no matter how small, can feel like the straw that broke the camel’s back.

  1. Physical

The effects of stress on the body are now widely known as the people in our world today, have many things to be stressed about. These may include headaches, digestive disorders, weight gain, and even hair loss.

  • Headaches caused by stress come with tension-type headaches or TTH. Medical professionals say that TTHs result from circulatory fluctuations and muscle tension.
  • Weight gain can result from stress, perhaps due to the overeating, some sufferers engage in to cope. It could also be cravings for sugar and other carbohydrates that make you gain weight. The fat that has accumulated around the abdominal area is said to be stress-related – a stressed individual may find him or herself able to lose weight but unable to lose the “stress fat” around his or her middle.
  • Digestive disorders can be a sign of stress. These can range from abdominal pain to chronic diarrhea.
  • Hair loss may also result from chronic stress.
  • Studies show the heart and overall circulatory system can be affected by stress to the point of exacerbating or even causing disease or dysfunction. This can be from stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol becoming elevated or at unhealthy levels, which cause the risk of a heart attack.
  • Insomnia is another physical problem that is linked to stress.
  • Susceptibility to illness may have a physical effect from stress – experts say that chronic stress exhausts the immune system, leaving you open to infection and sickness.
  • Chronic pain that is difficult to identify may result from chronic stress. Back and neck pain is the most common type of stress-related pain, but headaches (noted above) and joint pain may be stress-related as well.
  1. Behavioral

In adults and children, stress is often exhibited via behavioral changes. Behavioral stress may manifest as:

  • Excessive anger
  • Lashing out verbally or physically at family members or pets
  • Spending inappropriate amounts of money
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Gambling
  • Staying up very late at night, sleeping very late in the morning, or otherwise keeping unusual hours
  • Withdrawal from activities you once enjoyed
  • Withdrawal from family, friends, or any social activity

Research changes frequently and we can find variations of how different individuals relate to stress and other conditions as well. No two humans will relate to stress in the exact same way, as some people’s stress tolerance level is higher. Most people know when they are reaching the top of their comfort zone; therefore taking the time to let things calm down with some relaxation should be one’s first priority.

A Stress-Free Lifestyle Can Help To Minimize Stress

Here are 7 practical methods to minimize stress regardless of what it is:

1. Express Amusement And Be Happy.

Laugh hard and loud. If you don’t have a sense of humor, find someone else who has. Laughter releases endorphins (happy chemicals) from the body, and it helps boost your immune system.

2. Take Control Over Your Time and Schedule.

You’ll be much more able to deal with stress if you have a good handle on your job, relationships, and other activities. When you are in control, you are more inclined to stay focused and calm. Plan your time wisely.

Remember to leave room for unexpected events – both negative and positive. Be adaptable in rearranging your agenda. Get up 15 minutes early in the morning. Allow an extra 15 minutes to get to all appointments.

Avoid procrastinating on important or urgent tasks. Whatever needs doing, do it immediately. Do the unpleasant tasks early, so that you won’t have to worry about them for the rest of the day. Keep an appointment or record book. Don’t just rely on your memory.

Do your tasks one thing at a time. Focus your attention on the present moment, whether it’s the person talking to you or the job at hand. This helps you to avoid making errors – which leads to more tension and anxiety. Be patient in waiting. Anxiety caused by impatience can rise up your blood pressure.

Say “no” to requests that you cannot accomplish. Delegate trivial tasks. You must remember that you don’t have to do it all yourself. Crack a job into separate tasks and assign them to people with suitable skills.

3. Work Out

Strive and get some habitual exercise such as brisk walking, swimming, or whatever appeals to you. Play a sport you’re interested in. Aerobic exercises can considerably reduce the stress factor. Work out also improves sleep and gives you time to think and focus on other things. It also promotes the release of natural soothing chemicals in your body. Do not focus on excessive exercise, as this may have an adverse effect and might cause more depression.

4. Search Out A Support Group.

You’ll be able to manage stress much better if you have other people helping and supporting you. Did you know that married people and people who are outgoing (always meeting with friends) have considerably low levels of stress in their lives?

Choose positive friends who are not worriers. Friends who continually put you down or talk gloomily about life will increase your anxiety. Invite a good friend to help you talk out a problem and get it off your chest. A long-distance call to an old pal can be great therapy.

Pardon others instead of holding grudges. Slow down your standards – for yourself and others. Don’t expect too much. Perfectionism is not the means to happiness. Become more flexible and adaptable to your environment. Communicate clearly with your co-workers and boss. Ask questions. Repeat instructions that you are given. Clarifying directions at the start of a project can save lots of time later rectifying out misunderstandings. Be honest in your dealings with others. Lying and cheating lead to stress.

5. Take Breaths Deeply and Slowly.

Calm down your muscles, escalating your stomach and chest. Exhale slowly. Do it again several times. Follow your breath as it flows in and out. Do not try to have power over it. This is a good way to relax in the midst of any activity. This practice allows you to find a breathing pattern that is natural and relaxing for you.

Make use of this yoga technique: Inhale slowly, counting to eight. Exhale through your mouth, even more slowly, counting to sixteen. Make a sighing sound as you exhale, and feel tension dissolve. Do it again 10 times.

6. Consume Healthy Foods at the Appropriate Time.

Never skip meals, especially breakfast. Get time out to eat heartily no matter how busy you are. Take nutritious snacks to the office, or even the shopping mall. A nutritionally balanced diet is essential to your health and lifestyle. For example, researchers have found that even small deficiencies of thiamin, a B-complex vitamin, can cause anxiety symptoms. Pantothenic acid, another B-complex vitamin, is critical during times of stress. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts of sweets, which can worsen symptoms of stress.

7. Live Optimistically.

Count your blessings, particularly when everything seems to go wrong. Believe that many other people are living in worse conditions than you are. Don’t exaggerate the complexity of your problems. Every problem has a solution. All you need to do is find that solution. Learn to be happy and to enjoy life’s blessings. Live one day at a time.

You can do these simple little suggestions to help live a less stressful life and feel good. Start laughing at yourself if no one else.

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