Stress is any alteration that leads to physical, emotional, or psychological turmoil. It is your body’s reaction to anything against your will or desire. It is hard to have a stress-free life, harder even to have no effects on our health.
To some extent, almost everyone has stress. Frequent emotional distress, fear, work overload, and despair can make you feel entirely out of state and worn out. It is not always easy to recognize, but there are some ways to identify the signs that you might be experiencing too much pressure. There are unknown positive aspects related to it, as it can assist you in overcoming obstacles and enable you to adapt to new situations. It keeps you alert during a work presentation, sharpens your focus when intending the game-winning foul shot, or motivates you to study for an exam when you’d rather be scrolling on social media. But, after a certain point, it ceases to be beneficial and begins to harm your mental wellbeing, mood, efficiency, relationships, and quality of life.
Most of the time, mundane work and strict routines are the leading causes of stress. For such cases, many ways of managing work stress can save your health from going downhill. You may see some of the effects it has on your health below:
- Depression and a lack of motivation
One of the most common effects of stress on health is that it throws you into loops of depression, making you lose motivation. Depression and motivation are intertwined in a perpetual cycle. When you’re depressed, it’s hard to keep up with your responsibilities. It only exacerbates your demotivation, which is harmful both personally and professionally. You suffer in your relationships, and that same lack of energy can also make essential self-care difficult, such as exercising, eating, and getting adequate sleep. It then contributes to issues with mental and physical health. Internally, your body starts producing extreme amounts of stress, and dopamine and serotonin levels begin to fall.
It’s easy to get caught up in the pitfall of feeling worthless. By changing behavior, you may be able to delude yourself into feeling motivated. You may discover that taking action increases your motivation, making it easier to keep going. It’s always a plus point for your health.
Anxiety is one of the conditions you feel in the initial stages of stress. At times, it’s normal, but other than that, if it’s consistent, it’s a warning sign of something that might be bothering you.
According to the research, it can trigger various issues and conditions within your body. For example, it increases your heart rate in the short term and focuses entirely on blood flow to the brain. In addition, this very physical reaction prepares you to deal with a stressful situation.
If it becomes intense, you may feel lightheaded and nauseous. Even when anxiety is passive, it has an effect. It could be the quiet and unidentified cause of sleep disorders, GI diagnoses, and other mental conditions insidious to your health. What is necessary is to get yourself diagnosed properly and work your way through with the help of treatment.
- Overeating or undereating
Another indicator of being overly stressed is when you stop eating or eat more than you need. When stressed, your body releases cortisol and adrenaline, hormones that regulate your appetite. When this occurs, your body enters fight-or-flight mode. It functions when you need to escape from a source of distress, but your body can still stimulate this mode even when there is no serious threat. For some, this causes the body to stop digestion and hunger and redirect that energy to fighting or fleeing. The nervous system sends signals to the adrenal glands atop the kidneys that produce the hormone adrenaline or epinephrine to do the job. It suppresses appetite in the short term before returning to another pattern.
In some cases, when the stress continues, another hormone comes into action: cortisol. It is released by the adrenal glands, increasing appetite and enhancing motivation, including an excessive desire to eat. So, to sum this up, stress can also have a varying effect on the diet.
- Poor Sleep
It’s usually hard to doze off when you have a lot on your mind. Stress impairs sleep by increasing the time it takes to drift off and fracturing sleep. According to research, it activates our body’s stress response system, increasing stress hormones, specifically cortisol, that further disrupt sleep. Studies show that the hormone plays a crucial role in memory and learning, so in the long run, it affects them as well. Chronic sleep deprivation is also linked to lower digestion and endocrine dysfunction. While excessive stress can cause insomnia, not getting enough sleep at night can cause daytime cognitive deficits. While many try over-the-counter sleep aids like melatonin, consulting a health care practitioner can be beneficial if you want to help yourself get good sleep. It is critical to create an ideal sleeping environment.
- Digestive problems
The gastrointestinal tract is often known as the second nervous system since it contains more neurotransmitters than the central nervous system (CNS). When stressed, the sympathetic nervous system in your brain engages in a fight-or-flight response, preparing the body to protect itself from immediate danger by preserving functions that aren’t immediately required for survival. In all this, digestion is affected as the stomach’s emptying is delayed, which then causes stomach pain, indigestion, heartburn, and nausea. Stress also causes high motor control in the intestines as the stomach slows down, and you may experience bowel urgency or diarrhea. In short, most of the time, it’s stress that’s the reason behind your upset stomach.
- Chest and muscle pain
Chest pain is any discomfort that occurs in the chest area. It includes everything from the rib cage to just beneath the jaw. Cortisol and adrenaline released in a state of stress can cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate as well as difficulty breathing. Your throat may also tighten, and your chest muscles may constrict. All of these things can cause chest pain. Even though most stress-related chest pain is brief and harmless, much of it has a lasting effect on other organs. In addition, when stressed, your muscles are constantly tense, which causes an early decrease in muscle strength. Therefore, stress should be regarded as a separate health risk for impairment and other health conditions.
Half of the problems with our health are directly associated with how we feel and react. It is related to how much stress we take on the things we can control and those we can’t. It is not always visible, but it has a crumbling effect on our health, on which our life dearly relies.