Stress Affect Your Overall Health

Does stress affect your overall health? You bet it does! If you're like most people, you can name a few negative impacts of stress, but many of them will surprise you.

We are going to look at some general aspects of stress as well as treatments to achieve stress relief.

First, let's define stress. Stress, more or less, to a greater or lesser degree, equates to one simple word: Change.

Whenever you experience change in your life, there are physiologic responses that will accompany that change.

These responses are very simple, and they date back to the days when people's lives were simple.

If an unknown and frightening challenge entered someone's environment-like an attack from a neighboring tribe or an erupting volcano-the body got ready to face it or to run away.

Even the positive changes in a person's life caused the body to react-like breaching the crest of a mountain and finding a new food source-because even a good change was an experience outside of the normal comfort zone.

These days, our negative stresses include worry about job security, sustaining an injury, or losing out financially. Experts call it acute stress. If someone experiences a lot of pressure at work for a long period of time without finding a way out of the situation-job performance worries or a supervisor who doesn't like you-the stress becomes chronic.

A person can get just as stressed when he's getting ready to go away on a wonderful vacation. Arranging for the holidays or planning a wedding causes stress! Either of these represents a change from what's normal, so the body still reacts. This good kind of stress is called eustress.

You need to know how can stress affect your overall health if you're going to deal with it properly. Every change in your body results from your brain's decision that you have to either fight or flee.

  • Cortisol floods your bloodstream to boost your blood sugar-so you can be the first one through the doors of the store on the day of the big sale!

  • Vasopressin raises your blood pressure, which your body assumes you need during conflict-so you can yell at your boss!

  • You'll produce large amounts of adrenaline so that your organs can replenish their oxygen supply more quickly - so you can get your car to the tollbooth ahead of that car that's been tailgating you!

But these biochemicals do more than just that. Their outpouring into your muscles and cells causes a multitude of physical symptoms in those who fail to seek stress relief. If you're still asking does stress affect your overall health, just take a look at this list:

  • High blood pressure, also known as hypertension.

  • Depression

  • Diabetes

  • Hyperthyroidism

  • Insomnia

  • Obesity

  • Ulcers

  • Hives

  • Dental disease

  • Chest pains

  • Headaches

  • Susceptibility to colds or other illness

It's easy to make the association once you look at the whole picture. Sugar in the blood? Diabetes. Cortisol? Reduced immune response. Boosted blood pressure? A surefire recipe for heart attack or stroke. Adrenalized? Tense muscles lead to chest pain. Clenched jaws erode the jawbone and grind down teeth.

Stress relief is out there if you reach for it. The body knows what it needs, even if the mind doesn't. Specific stress relievers work for an individual based on his specific biochemical responses.

  • Deep breathing slows down the heart rate, reduces blood pressure, and helps your organs become re-oxygenized.

  • Physical exercise like running helps the cells expel excess hormones-out of the cells, out of the tissues, out of the muscles, and out of the body.

  • Resting relieves the tension in muscles and tendons and allows the body to achieve a level of stress relief.

When someone chooses a way to fight stress, he doesn't stop to think of how it will work. He just knows he feels better after meditating or taking a long walk.

Someone who would never agree to attend a meditation class doesn't realize that the state of mind he achieves when he's painting a picture or reading a book is the same kind of stress relief.

Other people proactively seek external relief sources. Some believe that the heat of an infrared sauna can penetrate deep into layers of skin and even muscle and restore cells to their normal balance. Others find relief through medications that help the body use stress-relieving biochemicals like serotonin.

So ask yourself: How does stress affect your overall health? Will you benefit from the use of aromatherapy? Some people believe that certain scents calm the excited glands that are responsible for dumping hormones into our bloodstreams or cells. Maybe you just find that squeezing a rubber ball repeatedly helps you to work out that tension.

The key to "does stress affect your overall health" is to find what works for you. Then you have to be aware of what excites or worries you. Once you know what those two triggers are, you can pursue active stress relief techniques to improve your life.

From Stress Affect Your Overall Health to Causes of Stress

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