“The root of all health is brain.
Stress and the way we express them varies from person to person. It our perception that makes the difference. What may seem stressful to one person may be endurable to another.
It is important to mention that all stress is not bad. Moderate stress keeps the motivation going. The stress hormones that our body releases (adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol) in response to stress helps us to protect ourselves against any harm to the self.
According to Rachel Fintzy Woods, MA, LMFT, “Stress lasts for a extended period of time, our bodies can begin to break down.”
How stress affects our physical and mental health
The stress-heart connection : Chronic negative stress has negative influence over the cardiac functions. Stephanie Dobbin, LMFT, CGP says “Maybe your stress comes in a different form. Or maybe your stress feels especially immense and nebulous, and you’re not sure where it’s coming from.”
- An immediate response to stress is an elevated heart rate, which causes the arteries to constrict and blood pressure rises as a result.
- Negative stress alters the rate of heart beats. It becomes a matter of serious concern if it persists for long.
- Our body releases inflammatory markers in stress, which increases the potential risk of suffering a cardiac arrest.
- Increased stress causes a condition called cardiomyopathy, which creates chest pain, and can eventually cause blood vessel damage in the heart.
Stress and Nerves : A direct effect of stress is seen in the Autonomic Nervous System, which is responsible for releasing the stress hormones. Although the nervous system is not under our control, but there are symptoms which signal that the nervous system is affected.
Symptoms of nervous tension are:
- Blushing and heat flushes
- Dryness of mouth
Immunity and Stress : Immune system is the interaction between our cells and the foreign elements in body. The frequent activation of the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for the “fight or flight” responses to stress interferes with the immune system causing immune deficiency and making our body susceptible to diseases.
Stomach and Digestion : Stress affects the rate of absorption of nutrients in the digestive system. People suffering from stress disorders often report abnormal eating behaviors (uncomfortably low or high amount of food intake) resulting in significant weight loss or gain. Enduring negative stress hampers the normal lifestyle and affects bowel and bladder functions as well. Digestive dysregulation causes :
- Nausea and vomiting
- Frequent Stomach aches
- Disturbance in bowel and bladder functions
- Diarrhea and Dehydration
Physical Diseases triggered by stress :
- Diabetes — There is a higher risk of developing diabetes for people in stress. Continuous stress increase the levels of the stress hormone cortisol which is responsible for maintaining the glucose regulation in blood. The American Diabetes Association has found out that the management of diabetes to be much difficult for people who are enduring stress than those who are stress free.
- Substance Abuse and addiction — Taking the help of alcohol, cigarettes or drugs has always been related to stress. Substance Abuse becomes a mental escape for the person and day by day he/she keeps increasing the quantity to attain the same amount of pleasure.
Mental Health : Not only physical health, stress also challenges mental health and well being of an individual. Stress triggers intense emotions which determine the way we react. According to Simon Rego, PsyD, “It seems obvious that experiencing a depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, would be required for someone to be diagnosed.” Researches have suggested that the brain activity during stress deviates from the normal state. As a result, negative thoughts and emotions are experienced that cause distress and lead to the development of disorders like social phobia, depressive disorders (minor to major), mood disorders and schizophrenia.
The results of numerous scientific studies have added much weight to the belief that the human mind has the power to facilitate healing in the body. Managing stress is a combination of lifestyle modification, nutrition and exercise — all of which aim towards a fully functioning body and mind. We always have enough resources within ourselves to fight stress ; we only need to find and make the most of them.
Choose to be happy and live stress free.