The Effects Of Stress and How It Can Cause Problems In Your Life
A lot of people think that stress is bad for our health. Although stress can cause severe consequences on our overall health, stress in healthy doses can be quite beneficial. It springs us into action, makes us perform at our best. Moreover, it can be particularly helpful in fight or flight situations where we have to run and save our lives.
However, chronic stress can cause us to develop all sorts of health problems including obesity and cardiovascular diseases. Read on to know the effects of stress and how it can cause problems in your life.
So what is stress?
Stress is a hard-wired physical response going through your entire body. Acute stress can trigger stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Since the body needs too much energy, it puts other vital things on hold- such as renewing your cells or repairing your tissues.
In a fast-paced life that we’re living in today, we’re regularly exposed to a dozen of everyday stressors- upcoming bills to pay, traffic jams, urgent emails at work, or a rift with a co-worker. All of these things can add up, which is why we can quickly get overwhelmed, and overworked- leaving us drained and tired as ever before.
So how does stress affect our bodies?
- Chronic stress makes you overweight
Chronic stress makes you overweight, at the same time, make it impossible for you to lose weight. Cortisol is the culprit for increasing your appetite since the body needs it for extra energy. A lot of us turn to comfort foods and drinks like junk foods and soft drinks for an easy energy fix, not knowing this can wreak havoc on our systems over time. Stress stops energy from reaching your cells, therefore, to cope, our bodies turn to carbs for that extra boost of energy- thus, you have sugar cravings.
Moreover, high sugar intake heavily disturbs your pancreas up to the point that it stops producing insulin anymore.
- It shrinks our brains
Do you know that being exposed to too much stress tends to shrink your brain? Researchers from the University of California report that being exposed to high levels of cortisol over time can cause the brain to shrink in size- specifically your prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain responsible for critical decision-making, judgment, and concentration.
Furthermore, you loss vital synaptic neurons in your brain that’s responsible for memory, stress, control, and learning. Not only that, it increases your chances of acquiring Alzheimer’s and depression.
- It makes us sick
Stress decreases your body’s natural healing tendencies, and lowers our immune functions making us susceptible to acquiring infections. It also makes you develop over time cardiovascular diseases, stroke, possible heartburn, stomach ulcers, anxiety, headaches, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, and the long list goes on.
As much as it can disrupt our lives, there are effective ways to reduce significantly unhealthy levels of stress. There are simple yet efficient ways that you can do so- such as calling a friend or loved one, laughing more often, eating right, exercising regularly, and practicing regular relaxation techniques.
Furthermore, you can seek the help of an experienced medical professional for counselling and therapy to learn more about the effectively proven ways on how to bust unhealthy stress from your life right now. TG Psychology is dedicated to delivering high-quality psychological and counselling services to fit every individual’s needs making them stronger, better, much more ready to face on any challenge or hurdle life may bring.
Todd is the Director and Principal Psychologist at TG Psychology, in Penrith, NSW. He has over 14 years of experience working with adults and young people in both public health and private practice settings. He has treated people from diverse cultural backgrounds, with a variety of emotional health and behavioural issues, including: depression, anxiety, relationship issues, anger, addictions, trauma and grief. He has also facilitated a number of group programs, treating a wide range of issues: from quitting cannabis, to social skills training, self-esteem development and deliberate self-harm behaviours.