I’m no stranger to stress. Are there really any lucky souls who aren’t subject to this pest?
I’ve come a long way but still find myself occasionally paralyzed by the stress of life. Thankfully I’m better at managing it these days if I can catch it in time. But for those who are stressed up to their ears 24/7, I want to share how mental stress can affect your physical body. Because it does. After years of working with people who battle cancer, chronic illness, autoimmune disease and weight issues one thing they all have in common is stress.
When your body perceives it’s under threat, stress triggers your fight or flight response. This biological response means you either prepare to fight the stress or move away from it. After processing this response your body naturally settles back into a state of calm. The problem is, when we’re in a constant state of stress, we never get back to that calm state.
How stress affects the body
When the body is launched into fight or flight mode a few things happen. Your blood pressure and heart rate rise, a stress hormone called cortisol is released from our adrenals. These responses don’t have many long-term effects, IF your body returns to a calm state shortly after the stressful event.
However it you’re constantly exposed to stressful situations you could be at risk of developing negative health conditions.
These may include:
- Muscle tension and soreness
- Digestive problems
- Poor sleep or insomnia
- A weak immune system, you may be more susceptible to colds/infections
- Hormones imbalances
The conditions above lead to a larger problem, these can cause additional mental and physical stress in your body. It’s a vicious, vicious cycle!
Additional effects caused by high levels of stress:
Acne can be caused by many things but personally it’s always been connected to stress. Increased cortisol levels can cause imbalances in sex hormones and lead to the formation of acne. The increased level of these hormones signal the sebaceous glands to create more oil. And of course, the more oil on our skin the more easily our pores can become clogged triggering acne.
If you notice you hold more weight around the midsection you’re likely experiencing weight gain associated with stress. Elevated levels of cortisol lead to increased release of insulin which causes low blood sugar, and finally sugar cravings. It’s not surprising why we tend to reach for comfort foods when we’re stressed!
Even if you have the self-control to choose healthier options over sugary, salty comfort foods your body will still hold onto those extra pounds. Weight loss is EXTREMELY hard, sometimes impossible, until you let go of what’s causing the stress in the first place.
Were in serious trouble when the adrenals are out of whack. Nothing damages the adrenals like stress and unhappiness, it’s a downward spiral from here starting with inflammation, insomnia, infections, constipation, chronic fatigue etc. Basically you’ll feel like crap.
Low adrenals can lead to countless unwanted symptoms, some of the most common are:
- Belly fat
- Blood sugar issues
- Lower back pain
- Salt cravings
- Shortness of breath
Stress and the health of the adrenal glands certainly has an impact the thyroid, it can actually impair or reduce it’s overall function. Cortisol has the ability to block conversion of T4 to active T3, and can increase the ‘unusable’ reverse T3, further disrupting the delicate balance of thyroid hormones that are essential for optimal health.
What to do:
Stress is all relative. What’s stressful for one person, may not be stressful for another. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and unable to manage small tasks or challenges without getting stressed, consider talking to a close friend or a professional about strategies to stay calm.
Techniques I personally use to manage stress, and teach to my clients are practices like breath work, mindfulness, meditation and yoga. In the next few weeks I’ll be sharing practical ways to incorporate these stress-busting practices and more to activate your body’s parasympathetic nervous system, make you feel more zen and to boost your overall health!
Lost on where to start to begin de-stressing?
I’m inviting you to claim a FREE Consultation so you can discover why you’re still suffering and what you need to know and do in order to get well. During this free consultation, we will go through your health history and goals and start determining what issues may be causing you to feel lousy.
From there, we can determine what changes need to be made to address the hidden causes of health problems and start a path to restoring your health.
To claim your free consultation, call 903-530-4088 or click here to request a consultation via email. Limited time slots are available so register today!