Effects of Stress on Your Mind and Body
Stress is a normal part of life. Many events that happen to you and around you and many things that you do yourself put stress on your mind and body. You can experience good or bad forms of stress from your environment, your body, and your thoughts.
Stress symptoms may affect your health, even though you might not realize it. You may think illness is to blame for that irritating headache, your frequent insomnia or your decreased productivity at work. But stress may actually be the culprit.
Stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. Some of the many effects of stress on your mind and body are mentioned below.
Stress Effects Your Heart
The exact relationship between stress and heart attack is still unclear, but evidence is mounting that there is one. A recent study of 200,000 employees in Europe found that people who have more stressful jobs are 23% more likely to have a first heart attack than people with less job-related stress.
“Fight or flight” chemicals like adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol can cause vascular changes that leave you with a tension headache or migraine, either during the stress or in the “let-down” period afterwards. Stress also makes your muscles tense, which can make the pain of a migraine worse.
You Experience Insomnia
Stress can cause hyperarousal, a biological state in which people just don’t feel sleepy. While major stressful events can cause insomnia that passes once the stress is over, long-term exposure to chronic stress can also disrupt sleep and contribute to sleep disorders.
Effects of Stress on Your Hair
Severe stress may even harm your hair. While the research is mixed, stress is thought to play a role in triggering hair loss in the autoimmune condition called alopecia areata.
Stress and anxiety can also contribute to a disorder medically known as trichotillomania, in which people have a hard-to-resist urge to pull out the hair from their own scalp.
Stress May Also Upset Stomach
Heartburn, stomach cramping, and diarrhea can all be caused by or worsened by stress. In particular, irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, which is characterized by pain and bouts of constipation and diarrhea is thought to be fueled in part by stress.
Too much of the stress hormone cortisol can interfere with the brain’s ability to form new memories. During acute stress, the hormone also interferes with neurotransmitters, the chemicals that brain cells use to communicate with each other. That can make it hard to think straight or retrieve memories.
Raises Blood Sugar
Stress is known to raise blood sugar, and if you already have type 2 diabetes you may find that your blood sugar is higher when you are under stress. Eat these stress reducing foods.
Skin and Stress
Most acne sufferers already suspect this is true, and they seem to be right. Stress can give you pimples. Research suggests that students with acne are more disposed to the outbreaks during exams compared to less stressful time periods.
Studies of employees ranging from military personnel to bankers show that stress reduces productivity and satisfaction at work, and is linked to depression too.