The Effects of Stress on the Body: 12 Terrible Repercussions

After learning what the effects of stress on the body can be, you will see why it is so important to manage your stress with some of these helpful tips.

Stress is an elusive root cause for many health concerns you need to be aware of. It affects the endocrine, immune, muscular, nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory and reproductive systems. Basically, it affects everything, and we rarely give stress the attention we should, or acknowledge it.

It’s not like we get a monthly bill from stress that we can pay and keep it under control. We must use our creative side to manage it, and make our lives relaxing and enjoyable so our health will work for us and not against us.

Music, art and relaxing activities will help bring your body back into balance and the value of these things that create positive emotions cannot be understated. The effects of stress on the body can come to be very serious, so let’s look at some of them for you to be able to assess if you need to lower yours.

1. Insomnia

Woman lying in bed suffering from insomnia

Because of the way stress affects the brain, it can keep you up throughout the night. If you are having trouble sleeping, a few suggestions are to make sure you exercise daily to burn off steam, as they say. Often your body will have too much energy to sleep if you don’t spend it. You also should reduce your caffeine intake to no more than one cup in the morning, and reduce refined sugars in your diet as well.

2. Depression

When your central nervous system is stressed for prolonged periods of time, it can create anxiety and depression. This can lead to compulsive eating, anorexia or excessive use of alcohol. Sometimes depression can make you not want to be around people and make you want to sleep a lot. Weight gain can cause us to lose motivation and overindulging can lead to Type two diabetes.

When stress goes unmanaged, it can affect not only you, but those around you.

Stress can affect the way you interact with people. Often we become irritable and snap at our loved ones without intending to. If you begin to fight with the people around you, it can create chronic stress. Try St. John’s Wort supplements to boost your mood, but be aware that it can interfere with the effectiveness of birth control.

It’s important to seek out therapy and find ways to lower stress if you feel any of these symptoms occurring. Stress can build subconsciously and we may not really be aware of how much stress we are under.

3. Migraines

Migraines are a nervous system disorder. They often last for a few hours or a few days. You may feel pain on one side of your head. Extreme migraines cause sensitivity to light and sound and can cause nausea, vomiting and stomach pain.

Migraines affect women more than men, and are one of the leading causes of time away from work. Make sure to get lots of extra water if you feel the onset of a migraine, and when you feel a headache beginning use it as a signal to take a break to relax.

Migraines can also be triggered by a mix of stress, food intolerances and dehydration. If you feel a migraine coming on, make sure to avoid some of the top allergens like wheat, soy, dairy, chocolate and alcohol.

Remember, stress can be caused by not taking care of your body properly. A healthy lifestyle is intricately linked with lowering stress, because if your body is in pain, you will be stressed.

4. Stomachache

woman suffering from Stomachache

The nervous system is directly related to our gut health. They say our stomach can be considered a second brain. Often when we are stressed we will experience pain in our stomach. Sometimes stress can irritate ulcers just like acidic drinks and foods will.

The best way to manage your gut health is to eat an anti-inflammatory diet and eat alkalizing foods. The anti-inflammatory diet promoted by Dr. Andrew Weil is a mostly plant based diet that proportions the amounts of meat, grains, dairy products, desserts and alcohol.

Try to reduce or eliminate processed food like fast food and drink alkaline water to bring your body into balance. Probiotics will also help to balance the gut health.

Stress can also trigger your body to react to certain foods you used to be able to tolerate. I developed gluten intolerance during a particularly stressful part of my life, and once I eliminated gluten, my stomach pain disappeared completely.

5. Painful inflammation

Stress puts our brain into the fight or flight mode, which allows us to respond better to stress, because it gives us adrenaline and more oxygen. However, it also releases a hormone called cortisol. This hormone is acidic and creates free radicals in the body.

If you aren’t familiar with free radicals, essentially they are unstable and must steal an electron from our healthy skin cells to stabilize. This causes inflammation in our muscle tissues and joints. Often any term ending in ‘itis’, such as: arthritis, bronchitis, tendonitis and dermatitis are caused by inflammation.

Yoga and physical exercises, in general, help to reduce stress and inflammation. If you are sitting a lot for work and slouching, it can also create stress on your body because poor posture will put strain on your muscles. Take stretch breaks every 30 minutes and make sure you sit up straight at your desk.

You can incorporate anti-inflammatory herbs into your diet such as cinnamon, turmeric and ginger to help as well.

6. Back and neck pain

Stress can build up in the back and neck as we tense our muscles unconsciously. Many times chronic pain is actually caused by stress. When we do not acknowledge anger, fear and anxiety, the brain will subconsciously translate it into physical pain in the body. Dr. John E. Sarno studied this phenomenon and calls it Tension Mitosis Syndrome (TMS).

Often it is hard for people to accept that their physical pain is not caused by an injury, or that stress may be prolonging the symptoms of an injury, but after Dr.Sarno’s research successfully healed over 10,000 people of chronic pain, it is no longer a question.

His book titled, ‘Healing Back Pain: The Mind Body Connection,” saved me after two and a half years of chronic back pain onset by a gymnastics injury. Within two weeks of retraining my brain, my pain was completely gone. I highly recommend this book!

7. Acid reflux

Stress affects your cardiovascular system. It can create hypertension if your heart is under stress frequently and pumping blood faster than normal for prolonged periods of time. Usually when someone gets acid reflux they reach for a Pepto-Bismol or Alka-Seltzer pill and forget about it. This doesn’t get to the root of the problem, which can either be stress or diet related.

Often stress will create heartburn and it can increase your heart rate. In rare cases it can create chest pain and heart attacks. You can see why it’s important to manage your stress; it affects the first thing you need to live, your health.

When your body is under stress, it releases glucose sugar that it must then process. If you’re under stress often, it can interrupt your digestive process. Because stress can impede your digestive process, constipation and weight gain may occur. Stress affects your respiratory system and causes increase of the symptoms of asthma, making it hard to breathe.

8. Irregular periods

Beautiful caucasian woman is sitting on the floor

Stress may either make you miss your period, make it extremely light, or make it extremely heavy. Stress increases testosterone in women and can reduce the libido. If you feel like stress is affecting your relationship, make sure you book a spa day or incorporate more relaxing activities into your week.

Take a bubble bath, go for a daily walk, and reward yourself by watching a funny movie. Laughing releases chemicals that help to combat stress and keep you happy.

9. High blood pressure

Not many people are familiar with the term hypertension or can accurately identify its symptoms and causes. Hypertension is the body’s way of telling you that your lifestyle is too stressful and you need more balance. Perhaps you may want to create a more peaceful home environment of find a lower stress job.

High blood pressure can lead to heart disease which is the leading cause of death in America. Stress impacts us much more than we realize, and simply getting outside and playing, forgetting about everything when you go camping or to the beach, may be just what the doctor recommended. That and a healthy plant based diet!

10. Weak immune system

Recent studies are linking the immune system to many health ailments. If the immune system stays strong, it will block viruses and kill them at the onset. If the immune system is weakened, viruses may find an easier time entering the body.

Yoga builds your body’s immune system, and plants like mushrooms, garlic, lemons, leafy greens and berries also strengthen your body’s first line of defense. You may want to boost your immune system with some of the amazing products offered by Health Force which are an extremely nutrient dense supplement brand available online.

It’s also advised to avoid excess alcohol because alcohol also weakens your immune system, and if you drink heavily, your body will be more susceptible to illness. Alcohol is also a depressant and not a good way to deal with stress.

Make sure you don’t go outside with wet hair, and dress warmly to not jeopardize your immune system further. Get enough sleep and get lots of live plants for nutrients. You can beat stress by boosting your immune system in other ways!

11. Infertility

anxious Asian girl looking at pregnancy test kit

Because fertility requires a special hormonal balance, excess stress can impinge your ability to get pregnant. When your internal chemical balance is off, you can bring it into balance with relaxing activities like Tai Chi, Yoga or meditation. Make sure you eat a clean diet, monitor your spending and don’t work yourself to the bone.

Basically, stress can affect ovulation because the part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which signals the body to ovulate, is the area that generates hormones. When our body creates an imbalance of estrogens, progesterone or testosterone, we may find fertility a far reach.

There is still a lot of research being done on how stress affects infertility, and it seems that some women can get pregnant under stress and with an unhealthy diet, while others have a healthy diet but cannot conceive.

12. Rashes and breakouts

Often stress will make itself known, so we have to take action to reduce it. We may get a sore on our lip, a rash somewhere on our body or acne on the face. If your diet is clean and your skin is acting up, chances are you could afford to lighten up. Make sure you are not being too self-critical and you are treating yourself well.

Try to be kind to yourself inside your head and don’t judge your perceived failures harshly. A great book called ‘The Four Agreements’ by Don Miguel Ruiz helps to put things into perspective and has helped many people learn to think differently about themselves, thereby increasing their overall happiness and vitality.

Why not plan something today to lower your stress? Maybe get some candles and play some relaxing music while reading a book. Maybe sign up for yoga class or buy a calming essential oil. There are many things you can do to manage your stress, and it’s usually a healthy lifestyle and positive mindset that will create enough positive momentum to beat it.

Stress is your body’s way of telling you it’s time to go back to the drawing board and rearrange some things so we can continue being downright awesome! Lowering your stress means creating inner peace for yourself.

Congratulations, you now know what to pay attention to, and how to stop stress from consuming you. Don’t be shy, share this information and come back soon for more valuable insights on YouQueen.

About the author

Shannon Y.

Shannon is a contortionist and yoga teacher that loves to inspire people to lead empowered and healthy lives. She writes practical advice for health and gives real world insights to empower women emotionally.

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