You know how life goes. There’s always something that interrupts your plans and it happens on the day when you can least afford to encounter a stressor. You might be on your way to work because you have to go over a project with your boss before the client gets there for a scheduled appointment. But the next thing you know, you’re trapped in a traffic jam. There’s no way around it and you can’t turn back. You’re just stuck. When this happens, your body reacts and floods your system with stress hormones. And the symptoms your body will manifest can be manifold.
The reaction from your body is based on the fight or flight response and it’s meant to be a help to you. However, when the situation isn’t life or death, this response isn’t needed.
When this is an occasional circumstance where you get a flood or stress hormones, it’s not a big deal. But when you don’t know the right coping techniques for stress, your body is constantly getting this flood of hormones, and this constant cycle of having a stress response within the body wreaks havoc on your physical health.
Over time, the overuse of your stress hormone starts to take a toll on your immune system. This happens because your body has something known as natural killer cells. These are designed to battle against serious conditions such as cancer, but these cells are also designed to fight things like bacterial or viral illnesses.
They work to protect your immunity. Stress weakens the ability of these cells to work the way that they’re supposed to, leaving you with little protection so you’re constantly catching whatever is going around.
It’s not just illnesses that you’ll face more often when you fail to break your stress addiction. You’ll be at a higher risk for developing conditions that are related to stress such as diabetes. When you get stressed, it raises your glucose level – even if you don’t have the disease.
Stress can make you more likely to have a heart attack because when you’re stressed, your blood pressure goes up. The flood of stress hormones that you get are supposed to temporarily narrow your blood vessels. But when you’re dealing with chronic stress, these blood vessels can be constantly narrowed, which restricts blood flow and oxygen to the heart. In addition to that, the stress response increases the clotting factor, facilitating the formation of arteriosclerotic plaques. This can result in a heart attack or stroke.
When you’re stressed, it can also affect your digestive health. You can develop nausea, stomach cramps and suffer from diarrhea or constipation. You can also suffer from heartburn.
People who are addicted to stress can develop reproductive problems. Women might skip a monthly cycle or they might notice that their periods last longer, while men can experience lower levels of testosterone, which is linked with impotence.
But it’s not just your physical health that will show the signs of stress. You can also struggle with mental health. For many people, prolonged exposure to stress can cause depression.
This happens because the stress hormones linger, and you don’t get that break from them that you’re normally supposed to get. It’s common for stress to have an impact on your emotions and when you constantly get that flood of stress hormones, it brings out negative feelings such as grief, which can lead to depression.
Anxiety is another consequence of not dealing with a chronic stress. You don’t have to have an anxiety disorder to develop anxiety. This is something that happens as a result of whatever stress you have in your life.
When you have anxiety, it can show up as both physical and emotional symptoms. When it has to do with your mental health, the anxiety that you experience usually reveals itself through a feeling of dread.
You might feel nervous at random times or consistently. Sometimes anxiety can show up as feeling like something is just off. You feel wary. This mental reaction can happen whenever you’re about to face a situation or when you think about that situation.
It can also happen because you fear the results of a situation. When stress is what’s behind your anxiety, then what you’re experiencing lingers and doesn’t just go away. Not dealing with stress can also lead to panic attacks.
A panic attack is what happens when you get a feeling of overwhelming fear or you experience a deep anxiety. Many people who have stress and develop panic attacks have these because of something in the past that they haven’t dealt with, or something that they’re afraid of that might occur in the future.
A panic attack is a sense of impending doom, even if nothing bad is going on at the moment or they’re not in any danger. When a panic attack disrupts your daily routine and you have difficulty being able to carry on, this is a severe episode and may need professional treatment.
Stress can manifest itself in many different ways. If you experience one of those symptoms of stress in your life, it is time to act and develop better coping skills to get your stress under control. Because uncontrolled chronic stress can cause havoc in your life in so many different ways.
Martin Neumann was trained for Lifestyle Interventions in 1998 at Wildwood Lifestyle Center & Hospital. Since then he has lectured in different parts of the world about a healthy lifestyle and natural remedies. He is the founder of the Abundant Health website.