Having a too busy pace of life, wanting to keep everything under control, and having a thousand things on your mind …Perhaps you consider the tension that your day to day causes to you normal and you resign yourself to suffer it, but it is convenient for you to know the limits of your body. In this article, we will see how stress, something that is apparently “only” psychological, can have very evident and concrete negative repercussions on your health.
HOW DOES STRESS AFFECT US
Virtually everyone has been through moments of anxiety, and it is even said that in some cases it is good to stimulate you to achieve your goals. However, when you always live in “emergency mode,” your mind and body can pay a heavy price. The reason is that the body gets used to releasing abnormal amounts of the substance into the bloodstream, and this eventually causes your tissues to suffer.
Cortisol and adrenaline: the hormones of anxiety
In periods of stress, the adrenal glands, located above the kidneys, release a type of hormone called cortisol. Along with adrenaline, which is also abundantly secreted when we get stressed, this substance is responsible for causing blood glucose levels to rise a lot to provide extra energy to the body in a dangerous situation. Adrenaline, also, causes the heart rate, respiration, and tension to rise and dilates the bronchi so that more oxygen enters. On the other hand, it reduces blood circulation in areas such as the skin to channel it to the muscles.
Wear and tear of the immune system
The immune system is one of the most affected by the diversion of energy to those processes that allow it to react quickly to possible threats.
This makes getting sick after a hard work stage, not a strange thing: if the state of stress lasts a long time, the chances that certain harmful microorganisms will find their opportunity and spread throughout your body without finding much resistance.
WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR BODY
The excess adrenaline and cortisol released into the blood every day are harmful. That is why many common discomforts are caused by stress, among which the following stand out:
Almost 50% of people with chronic stress suffer from this symptom. And it is that the cervical area, when living under continuous tension, tends to stiffen in any situation: an argument, a small setback … It also occurs with other muscles of the back.
Stress causes many people to live “eternally” contracted.
Stress disrupts the absorption of trace elements and basic amino acids and narrows the arteries, limiting circulation to the scalp.
Many nerves pass through the digestive system, making it very sensitive to any emotional disorder.
The natural movement of the intestines is altered when under stress, which can cause diarrhea to constipation, depending on the person.
It also increases the acidity of the stomach, because an excess of gastric juices is secreted. On the other hand, constant pressure also makes you eat faster, causing gases indirectly.
High levels of cortisol keep you on a state of alert, making it difficult to relax, making it difficult for you to fall asleep. Stress is behind 85% of insomnia cases, and women between 40 and 49 years are the most affected.
Besides, even if you manage to fall asleep, it is known that the nerves do not allow sleep to be restorative, because they prevent completing the REM phase.
Do you feel like “biting” people, even though it is not in your nature, and feel that you need to make a great effort to control your temperament?
This is because constant stress causes you to generate less dopamine, the well-being hormone. In that situation, almost any setback can cause us to lose control a little.
Eczema or urticaria can also be a response to a poorly controlled stress situation. And it is that the excess of cortisol in the body stimulates the release of histamine, which can end up causing these dermatological disorders.
Besides, it reduces the production of collagen and elastin, the fibers that give the skin elasticity, causing greater sagging. Adrenaline also causes acne to worsen.
7. You forget more things
The cortisol that is generated with stress reduces the activity of the hippocampus of the brain, the area where memories are “managed and consolidated.
HOW DOES YOUR LONG-TERM HEALTH SUFFER?
Chronic stress can directly “drain” the body and make it sick:
- The heart suffers. When the adrenaline increases, it pumps more blood, but if this situation continues over time, your heart may end up weakening. Besides, blood pressure also skyrockets.
- The waiting room of depression. Sustained stress kills dopamine stores. Therefore, when it is not controlled and progresses to the resistance or exhaustion phase, one of the consequences is the appearance of depressive symptoms.
- Premature aging. Cells use 90% of the energy to renew and repair tissues. But stress leaves these functions in the background, which is why stressed people age more and do it earlier.
- Increases the risk of cervical cancer. Anxiety and stress increase the probability of developing this type of cancer in women infected with human papillomavirus. It is also believed that it may play a relevant role in the development of metastasis and a worse evolution of cancer.
HOW TO COMBAT ANXIETY
Many times stress cannot be avoided. Whatever we do, situations will end up appearing in which the pressure of the context in which we live makes us slack. But the solution is not to tolerate it while waiting for the situation to improve, but to learn to face it without the health suffering. For this it is convenient for you:
- Find out if you have a personality prone to it and know how to recognize the symptoms that alert you that, even if you don’t realize it, stress is taking its toll on you.
- Put into practice techniques and habits that help you get away or support it better. In short, they make you stronger. Delegating tasks and practicing relaxation exercises are two useful strategies for this.