We all experience stress from time to time and occasional stress isn’t a problem – in fact, it can be helpful. But when you experience chronic stress as many people do, your body can begin to break down.
The worst part of this process is that most people just go with the flow until it’s too late. They don’t see the tsunami of emotional turmoil coming at them until one day they’re overwhelmed and feel like they can’t cope.
We all need help managing our stress, and you can get help from the privacy of your own home – online. In the course Primal Stress you’ll learn how to counteract some of these negative effects. But first, let’s look at what stress does to the body.
The Physical Effects of Chronic Stress
When you think about stress, you may think about emotional changes but you may not think much about what it does to your body. Stress in a specific situation can cause your heart rate to increase and can even cause a headache. Those go away when the stress does.
But chronic stress can cause many hidden problems that you might blame on other factors. When you experience long periods of stress, your body begins to produce too much of a hormone called cortisol.
Cortisol is a helpful hormone when you have an isolated stressful incident. But when you have too much of it in your body it can cause inflammation. This leads to problems such as weight gain (especially in the belly), fatigue, problems sleeping, and an increased risk of heart disease and other illnesses.
In fact, people who undergo chronic stress have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, and even cancer. You may even begin to experience symptoms such as chronic headaches, chest pain, and digestive problems.
You may notice that you begin aging more rapidly as inflammation causes your cells to age more quickly. Your immune system can become suppressed. As a result, you pick up more colds and other infections than you did when stress wasn’t such as factor in your life.
Another area that can be affected is your sex life. Chronic stress can take a healthy sex drive away and replace it with disinterest. It can also lead to problems with sexual performance and fertility.
These symptoms might creep up slowly over time. You may not even notice the transition happening. But one day you wake up and you know that you just don’t feel as good as you used to.
Many people will go to the doctor to discuss symptoms and walk out with prescription drugs when the real problem at the core is stress. Those prescriptions may treat symptoms, but also come with an array of side effects that can put further stress on your body.
While your body is an amazing machine that can handle some infrequent stress, it simply wasn’t designed to handle the problems that come with chronic stress – and that’s an epidemic in today’s fast-paced, tech-driven world.
The Emotional Toll of Stress
When you think of the body, you may think of flesh and bone. But the mind is intimately connected with the body, so it’s important to look at how it’s affected. While the physical body experiences many symptoms of stress, your emotional health is also at risk when you have more stress than you can handle.
People who have high levels of chronic stress often feel greater levels of anxiety. If you’re very stressed, you probably find yourself worrying and feeling restless all the time.
You may also feel irritable more of the time. That underlying tension can lead to problems with anger or even rage. While this wreaks havoc on your relationships it also causes you to have higher blood pressure and problems with your heart and digestive system.
People with chronic stress are also more likely to suffer from depression. Depression can take its toll on your physical body as well. You may find it difficult to get out of bed, perform your work responsibilities, and maintain relationships.
Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can help to relieve symptoms, but they do nothing to remove the source of the problem. And antidepressants, like all prescription medications, also have side effects that can be dangerous.
Chronic stress can be a vicious cycle of causing your body to feel bad, leading to depression, leading to feeling even worse physically. Until you do something to stop the cycle and interrupt it, you’ll find yourself feeling worse and worse.
For example, if you have chronic stress, you’re more likely to develop diabetes. Having a chronic disease that makes you feel physically bad can lead to depression.
The more depressed you feel the more inflammation your body experiences and you can find that your diabetes is exacerbated. This leads you to feel worse physically and depression increases.
This cycle can keep going until you’re in pretty bad shape. But following a program, such as that one found in Primal Stress, can interrupt this cycle and allow you to reduce the effects of stress on the body and improve your mental health.
If you’re currently caught up in this cycle, it’s important to know that there is hope for getting out of it. By reducing stress and taking better care of your body, your mental health will improve as well.
Stress Behaviors that Affect Your Body
There are also many things you might do as a result of stress that can cause a negative impact on your body. People who have high levels of stress are more likely to:
* Turn to substances such as alcohol or drugs to deal with stress
* Overeat or even under eat in response to stressors
* Smoke or use other tobacco products as a coping mechanism
* Withdraw socially and become isolated
* Have angry outbursts that even lead to physical harm
When these issues become part of your life, things can quickly spiral out of control. Using food or other substances to ease your stress symptoms leads to a whole host of health problems including liver disease, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
And using substances can also cause you to make decisions with poor judgment. Things you would never do as a sober person become more acceptable as your judgment melts away.
This can lead to even more harmful effects on your body such as sexually transmitted diseases, injuries, and overdose. These behaviors can also impact you financially.
You can find that you’re spending all of your money on coping mechanisms rather than taking care of your real needs. And that leads to even greater stress. You may also find that inappropriate behavior causes you to lose your job or makes it difficult for you to keep a job.
And people may just not want to be around you if your behavior becomes volatile. You can even find yourself completely out of control and in need of professional help in order to get life put back together.
The best thing you can do is intervene before your stress levels get to this point. Much like the cycle of depression we discussed in the last section, adding these behaviors on top of chronic stress can compound the problems and begin a downward spiral for your body and mind.
When you interrupt the cycle of chronic stress you can avoid having problems that grow out of control, you can have a healthy body, and a healthy mind. And when you’re healthy you won’t rely on unhealthy behaviors to keep you going.
Chronic stress is often dismissed as just a normal part of life, but it’s really not normal to experience that type of stress. And when you don’t intervene, the consequences can be grave.
Am I Suffering from Chronic Stress?
Now that you know the impact of stress on your body, it’s important to evaluate whether or not you’re in the middle of experiencing it. There are several things you can look at to determine if you’re in danger.
These aren’t the only indicators of chronic stress, but they’re some of the most common.
Sleep Problems: One of the first ways that chronic stress becomes obvious is that you notice trouble sleeping. You have a hard time falling asleep and you may have trouble staying asleep.
The serious problem with this is that a lack of sleep will cause the impact of stress to become even greater. If you’re feeling exhausted and you notice that you’re not getting good sleep, it’s a sign that you may be experiencing chronic stress.
Anxiety: Do you feel like your mind is racing all the time? You may always be worrying or focusing on things over which you don’t have any control. This can cause you to feel edgy and nervous.
Difficulty Concentrating: Chronic stress can make it difficult to focus. You may find that you’ve begun to misplace things or that you have a harder time finishing things you start. We all forget things from time to time or procrastinate, but the problem comes when it becomes more severe and really causes problems in daily life.
Headaches: People who have chronic stress often report headaches. These could be tension headaches caused by muscle tightness in the head and neck. But people with high stress levels can also experience more severe migraine headaches.
If you suffer from regular head and neck pain, chances are that the source of this pain is chronic stress. By working on a program to reduce chronic stress, you can say goodbye to these headaches.
Digestive Problems: Chronic stress causes many different digestive issues. If you’re always popping antacids or you’re dealing with constipation and diarrhea on a regular basis you may actually be suffering from stress.
Stress causes indigestion and can lead to problems with irritable bowel syndrome. You may also experience changes in appetite. If you feel like your stomach is always upset, it’s time to take a look at stress as a possible culprit.
You Feel Overwhelmed: Chronic stress can make you feel like you just can’t do all the things you need to do. You can become scattered and it may seem like you’re working hard but not getting anything done.
In the end, living your life this way will make it difficult to experience joy and happiness. If you feel overwhelmed much of the time, it’s time to examine what you can do to find more balance and happiness.
The Effects of Stress Are Unique to Each Individual
If you’re very in tune with your body, you may be able to notice problems before they spin out of control. But many people don’t notice stress is a problem until it becomes a major problem.
The truth is that stress affects every person in his or her own way. You need to look at what’s going on with your own body and mind and determine what role stress plays in your life.
Once you get real about your current physical and mental state, you can begin to combat it. It’s important to break the vicious cycle of chronic stress and its devastating effects on the body.
In Primal Stress, you’ll learn how you can combat the effects of stress and get the body and mind you really want. When you take care of managing your stress and you take care of your body you can reverse many of these issues.
Even if you suffer from chronic disease, such as diabetes, you’ll find that your health can be restored. You can also lower your risk of developing cancers, heart disease, stroke, and other chronic illnesses.
Stress is different for every person. Some people react to stress in a way that’s more positive. You don’t need to compare your experience with that of other people.
Instead, you need to look at how stress is affecting you and make the necessary changes to improve your life. Most importantly, don’t ignore what your body is telling you.
Learn to be in tune with your body and recognize when negative or positive changes are taking place. When you pay attention to the signs your body is giving you, you’ll be able to have more control over your own health.
By working to change the impact of stress on your body you’ll find that you feel more energetic, look younger, and have fewer health problems. You won’t have to depend on medications to keep you going.
Instead, you’ll have better health naturally. If chronic stress is a major part of your life, it’s time to address it before your health suffers even more than it already has.