No matter who you are and how old, whether you’re a child, teenager, or an adult, you’ll experience stress within your lifetime. Either the stress is positive, such as preparing for a wedding, or negative, such as dealing with finances, there’s no avoiding it. Let’s take a look at how stress affects your body and what you can do to deal with stress.
What Is Stress?
Stress is mental, emotional, or physical tension brought on by an event and is a reaction to a change in the environment. Short term stress helps people meet deadlines, catch a train, or avoid danger and goes away quickly. Chronic stress lasts for a more extended time, and you live with it for so long that you don’t even realize it’s a problem.
How Stress Affects The Body
There are several ways stress can affect the human body. The human body releases hormones as a reaction to stress to increase your awareness, even if there is no danger. Long term stress:
- Weakens the immune system: This leads to more colds and infections.
- Stress increases the risk of Type 2 Diabetes as the liver produces extra blood sugar. This extra blood sugar provides a boost of energy. However, too much stress over a period of time increases the risk of diabetes.
- Stress raises your blood pressure: This causes headaches, shaking, ringing in the ear, rapid heartbeat, and can eventually lead to hypertension. Hypertension could lead to frequent chest pains or even a heart attack.
- Muscles become tight and tense as a response to stress. This muscle tension causes headaches, shoulder and back pain, as well as knots.
- Stress potentially leads to stomach ulcers. While the stress itself doesn’t cause ulcers, it does increase the production of stomach acid, which leads to acid reflux. An increase of stomach acid also leads to that acid eating away at the stomach lining.
- Stress leads to feeling like you have a lower amount of energy. In turn, the stressed individual has to push harder to do the same amount of work, which increases their stress and continues to lower their energy levels.
- Decreases your mental health, leading to anxiety, depression, and other issues, such as forgetfulness, lack of focus, and lowered ability to manage emotions.
How To Deal With Stress
When dealing with stress in your life, either positive or negative, taking steps to manage your stress goes a long way in minimizing it. A few ways to deal with stress include:
Avoiding Alcohol, Caffeine, and Drugs
While these three items may seem like they’re helping you with stress, they only cause more problems down the road. Problems created from alcohol, drug, and caffeine use to manage stress only lead to more stress.
Eat Healthy Food
Your body needs nutrients to function properly and it receives these nutrients through healthy food. Not only that, but whole grains, fruits, and veggies reduce stress by making the brain produce serotonin. Serotonin regulates mood, sleep, and other body functions.
Exercise helps keep your body healthy and produces endorphins, which act as natural painkillers. Exercise also improves sleep, which lowers stress.
Get Enough Sleep
A tired person is a stressed person. Good sleep regulates the mood, improves concentration, and you’re better able to deal with the stress in your daily life.
Different types of massagers are another excellent way of relieving stress. They help relax the muscles and work out any knots. When you buy a massager, be sure to find one that suits your stress relief needs.
Take A Break
Take a break from whatever it is that’s causing stress in your life. If the news causes you to stress, take a break from that. If it’s work-related stress, you might try to take a vacation or have a quiet day on your days off. If the stress is family-related, take time to do something fun for you and your family and focus on what you can control.
Talk With Someone
Talking to someone how you feel releases the tension you have and gives you another perspective on how to deal with your problem. A stress diary is also a useful tool for stress management.