Stress is a natural response to challenging, anxiety-provoking, or demanding environments and situations. For many, it is a standard everyday part of life and is a perfectly healthy biological response in the vast majority of cases. Although many people believe that stress is always to fight, there is nothing wrong with feeling that emotion from time to time.
But there is a difference between healthy levels of stress and chronic stress. Healthy stress serves to inform you that something is wrong and fill your body with the right hormones to survive. Chronic stress keeps your body in this suspended state of heightened senses and unbalanced hormones for an extended period, and it’s easy enough to point out how that could be bad for you!
Chronic stress can stem from many things, such as mental disorders, difficult circumstances, high-pressure jobs, personal problems, and more. These situations can trigger long-lasting physical effects of stress that negatively affect your physical health as well as your mental health.
With the intense levels of discomfort that chronic stress puts on the body, it’s no wonder all of this can have a long-lasting effect. A wide range of different symptoms can occur. In fact, you may even be at risk for many different diseases. But how can something like stress be so powerful and what can you do about it?
3 Ways Chronic Stress Affects Your Health
Here are three ways Chronic stress it affects your health and the ways to fix it in three methods.
1. It damages your digestive system
Chronic stress manifests itself most obviously in the digestive system. So if you’ve been in a bad state of mind, you’ve probably already noticed how your stomach can turn and your digestion act as a result.
The odd episode of stress every now and then isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But being chronically stressed can really affect that system as a whole. Here are some ways it can be harmful, depending on investigate:
· Stomach problems
The many physical symptoms of stress can lead to a digestive system disorder. With increased heart rate, increased stress hormones, and rapid breathing, it makes sense that your stomach begins to suffer. You may feel pain or discomfort, but you may also have to deal with issues like acid reflux or heartburn. If you have existing stomach ulcers, they can become even more agitated, too.
· Intestinal problems
If you’ve ever noticed that your bowel movements become a little different during times of fear, stress, or anxiety, then you already know how stress can affect your body’s natural way of processing food. You may feel nauseous, be constipated, have diarrhea or even vomit.
· Sugar in the blood
Your liver works overtime to produce more glucose, so it has the energy to handle stress, but your body may not be able to keep up with all that extra glucose, creating a risk of unbalanced blood sugar. insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.
2. Damages the respiratory system
The respiratory system is critical to your health, and dysregulation of emotions, whether due to stress or anger, can result in a type of wasting lung damage, according to studies. To understand how this happens, let’s talk about what the respiratory system does, step by step.
First, air enters through the nose and mouth, down the throat through the larynx, and then through the lungs through the windpipe, ending in the bronchi. The bronchioles then oxygenate the red blood cells for use by the rest of the body. Basically, the job of the lungs is to excrete carbon dioxide waste from the cells and carry oxygen to the cells for the body’s supply.
If, at some point, stress affects one of the parts of the body involved with breathing, that can damage the respiratory process. For example, stress can cause a constriction of the throat or windpipe, causing difficulty in breathing. And of course, rapid breathing can occur due to panic and other extreme forms of stress, which can make you feel like you’re not breathing enough.
Chronic stress can exacerbate pre-existing respiratory conditions or put you at risk of developing certain types later in life. This includes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, asthma, and emphysema.
3. Damages the cardiovascular system
You’ve probably heard of the stress that causes heart attacks. It turns out that stress has a terrible effect on the heart and its relevant organs, and investigate shows how bad it can be. Again, it is important to understand how the cardiovascular system works to understand how stress affects it.
To nourish the entire body, the blood vessels and the heart work together to carry oxygen and nutrition to all the different organs. These two components are also important in shaping the human body’s natural stress response. When you experience sudden and unexpected stress, for example, your heart muscles contract, stress hormones rush through your body, and your heart rate speeds up to release the hormones quickly.
But with chronic stress, what happens is that the heart is always under this state of stress and difficulty. You constantly overwork your blood vessels and your heart muscles, and that means your blood pressure is high all the time. This increases your risk of developing conditions such as a stroke, hypertension, or a heart attack and, at the very least, you will have to deal with circulatory inflammation and may even affect your cholesterol levels.
Here are three easy ways to help you manage chronic stress.
1. Write in a journal
Some people falsely view the act of journaling as “childish,” but it is actually beneficial! Journaling is a thoughtful and expressive writing act, allowing you to spill your guts in a private space regarding anything that is bothering or stressing you. Then after writing all that down, you can enjoy the calmer feelings and reflect on those feelings once you are in a calmer state.
Studies have found that journaling is an effective tool for encouraging positive thinking through stress management. Getting into the habit of journaling every day can be a great way to process your everyday emotions and deal with daily sources of stress, and you can gain a new insight into your life at the same time!
Exercise is repeatedly touted by many people as a miracle cure for stress, and while it’s definitely a hype, there’s no denying that it can help. The act of physically expressing stress through moderate exercise can help relieve and expel some of that stress from your brain.
Numerous studies exercise has been shown to alleviate anxiety, depression, and stress and, in turn, stimulate positive thinking. On the contrary, those who do not exercise. That is how!
- It improves the quality of your sleep and helps you feel more rested, so you can recover from stress and feel more prepared to deal with potentially stressful situations during the day.
- More positive hormones like endorphins to help you feel good, reduce stress levels, and make you feel better.
- Helping reduce levels of cortisol, which is the body’s main stress hormone, and a long-term exercise habit can properly maintain that hormone and its levels.
- It makes you feel more confident, allowing you to feel more capable about your abilities, so the stress doesn’t feel too severe.
You don’t have to do strenuous exercise to get these benefits. A healthy, moderate habit that puts on a little sweat and a little blood pumping. Walking, jogging, dancing, and even gardening can work!
3. Relax in social settings
All human beings need some degree of social interaction, even the loneliest of introverts! Studies They have even linked low social connection to anxiety and depression, which drives home the idea that your social life is connected to your mental health.
The exact amount of social interaction you need will vary from the needs of others. But that’s all the more reason to try to see how social settings affect your stress levels. Here are some ways to relax in social settings to manage chronic stress:
Spend time with your loved ones
The people you love can be very supportive in times of stress. Even being around people you like and making them feel good can stimulate wellness hormones like oxytocin in the body, providing stress relief and facilitating better positive thinking.
Having physical contact with those you trust (and who consent, of course!) Increases the love hormone, oxytocin, which can make you feel great! It is a great way to mediate stress. Plus, even a hug can give you all the oxytocin you may need or want to feel better. Studies They have found that hugging other people can lower the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body.
Play with a pet
If you can’t achieve human interaction, cuddling and playing with a pet can have a similar oxytocin-releasing effect, according to investigate! On top of that, owning a pet can give you a sense of meaning and purpose. On top of that, this company helps you feel less stressed and anxious every day.
Stress, in moderation, it’s simply a healthy biological response that keeps you alert, strong, and alive when you need it. The fight or flight response fills your body with all the hormones it needs to persist through challenges. But chronic stress is more than that. It’s that fight or flight instinct, but for a prolonged period. You constantly feel insecure and uncomfortable for no logical or rational reason.
Learning how to manage stress levels to prevent them from affecting your health is incredibly important. Otherwise, you could end up with many physical symptoms that could escalate to more serious illnesses. Remember, there is no shame in asking for help. In fact, you probably need Professional Help in the positive management of chronic stress. Talk to your doctor if you feel like you are struggling with this form of stress!