8th March 2019

The effect stress has on the body

We all become victims of stress from time to time, and while occasional stress is okay, daily stress can wreak havoc in the body. In fact, studies show that about 70% of hospital visits and 80% of chronic illnesses may be directly linked to increased stress levels. 

Stress and the Immune System

If you’re stressed all of the time, your immune system starts to slow down, and you may get sick in no time. It’s can also become difficult to recover from sickness because the immune cells that are supposed to fight the pathogens and heal you are in a nearly quiescent stage. If untreated, long term stress can cause chronic inflammation and result in diseases such as gastric ulcers, heart disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia and inflammatory bowel disease, any exciting conditions like Endometriosis can also be worsened. 

Stress and Mental Health 

The mental effects of stress are, in fact, equally as harmful as the physical effects. Though some of them can be managed effectively with simple strategies, some could kill a person. Scientists found that repeated stress seriously affects the normal functioning of the central nervous system. Impairment in memory, anxiety, mood swings, lack of concentration, insomnia, negativity towards life, depression, suicidal tendency are the effects of a deeply stressed mind. 

Stress and Hormones

As and when your brain encounters a stressor, it directs your adrenal glands to release a surge of hormones especially adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline immediately increases your heart rate, blood pressure, and energy supplies. Whereas the cortisol aka the stress hormone, slows down the digestive system, immune system, and thyroid function, and creates an imbalance in the blood sugar levels. In fact, they prevent the secretion of our happy hormone. 

Stress and Energy Levels

Little amounts of stress can act as a motivator to attain personal and professional growth. However sustained stress releases too much cortisol into the circulation. Fatigue can really take charge of your body because of adrenal gland depletion. A 2011 scientific study conducted in a group of 2483 subjects concluded a strong relationship between fatigue and stress levels. Imbalanced blood sugar levels, underactive thyroid gland and decreased oxygen supply to the brain which worsen the situation.

So, how do you tackle stress? 

The good news is that the daily stress can be managed through many tactics. Some of them are quick fixes and others require conscious and continuous efforts. When stress makes you exhausted, depressed, moody, or sick, don’t just surrender. When you feel stressed, go for a walk and get some fresh air.  Try to incorporate activity as a part of your life: hit the gym, join a yoga class, do meditation. Exercise releases your happy hormones or “endorphins” which naturally lifts our mood. Fuelling our bodies with nutritious wholesome foods is a great way to improve our mood, a happy belly leads to a happy mind. Spending time with people who make you feel positive will immediately make us feel happier and of course there is always the option of seeking medical help. 

Much Love and Health,

Kelly Sephton