How Stress Impacts Vital Organs

How Stress Impacts Vital Organs

Stress affects just about everyone’s daily lives. Unfortunately, stress is not a benign thing. It can affect your body in ways that can have a long lasting impact on your health. Here are some ways stress can affect your health:

• The Effect Of Stress On Your Brain – Stress can cause you to lose your concentration and memory abilities. Whether this is psychological or physiological is not completely clear. When you are under stress, parts of your brain associated with memory, such as the hippocampus, do not work well and you cannot turn short-term memory into long-term memory. You can also fail to concentrate on things you hear or things you are reading. It isn’t clear whether this is a long-term effect or short-term effect; however, things like stress reduction techniques seem to be able to restore your ability to think.
• The Effect Of Stress On Your Gastrointestinal Tract – Stress triggers the body’s fight or flight response so that epinephrine and norepinephrine are released from your adrenal glands. This has multiple effects on the body. One thing this phenomenon does is shunt blood away from the gastrointestinal tract and toward the muscles of the body as a way of gearing up to “fight or flee” from a real or imagined opponent. This can lead to a decreased blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract, which translates into indigestion and poor uptake of nutrients. Fortunately, this can be short-lived unless you live under situations of chronic stress. Then the GI system will be more permanently affected.
• The Effect Of Stress On Your Cardiovascular System – Stress causes the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine, which automatically raises your blood pressure and heart rate. This puts more stress on your heart and puts you at higher risk of suffering from hypertension-related diseases like heart failure, stroke, and heart attack. These kinds of things do not happen overnight but if you suffer from chronic stress, the long lasting implications of heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, heart failure, and stroke are real possibilities, especially if you do not eat well or have a strong family history of heart disease.
• The Effect Of Stress On Your Immune System – Excess stress also causes the release of cortisol from the adrenal cortex. Cortisol has many effects on the body but one of the main ones is that it suppresses the immune system. High levels of cortisol mean that you are at greater risk of getting colds and the flu and have a harder time healing from open sores, cuts, or wounds. Cortisol can suppress several aspects of the immune system so you will find yourself sicker more often when under stress than you would be if you were under less stress.

Things You Can Do To Reduce Stress

Because stress can wreak havoc on your body, you need to do what you can to lessen the stress on your life so you can remain healthy. Sometimes it is just a matter of reducing the things in your life that are major sources of stress. It might mean getting out of a stressful relationship, getting your finances in order or changing your job situation so you don’t go to work each day with stressful feelings.

If you can’t change your circumstances, you may want to practice stress-relieving techniques. These include things like meditation, Tai chi, yoga, and Qi gong.

These activities can be easily learned through attending classes at a local health club or buy purchasing a DVD that will teach you ways to reduce the amount of stress you perceive in your life so you can live a healthier life.

Another great way to reduce stress is to take a vacation, or spend time in nature that naturally calms the mind, body, and spirit.

How Does Stress Impact Your Body

stressmanagement How Does Stress Impact Your Body

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.

 

How To Deal With Stress That Keeps You Up at Night

If you are suffering from stress that is keeping you up at night it is important to learn how to deal with it.

It’s annoying to think that the loud music your neighbor plays is what keeps you up until the wee hours of the morning. But when it’s you who is sabotaging your own chances to sleep and rest, it is somewhat more frustrating. Fact of the matter is, stress-induced insomnia runs rampant these days because of hectic social schedules and mind-numbing responsibilities.

Instead of just going to bed to doze the night away, your mind goes haywire. You end up tense and anxious, thus overriding any ability to go into dreamland. And when you do get to sleep, it’s still a fitful kind of rest. You don’t wake up feeling refreshed, and instead go back to contemplating about what has been bothering you. If this didn’t happen so often, it wouldn’t have been such an issue.

If, however, it happens regularly or too often, then the whole thing makes sleeplessness so pernicious. Besides waking up cranky and tired, you also risk your health in the long run. You will no longer be as immune to sickness or you become forgetful.

The biggest downside is its effect on your metabolism. Even when you don’t eat as much, you still have a chance of packing on pounds because your whole body clock just slows down.

What can you do to avoid this?

First, you need to get a handle on whatever issues you have.

Try to make a list of your priorities and tick off what has been done. Seeing that you have accomplished something immensely helps in making you feel lighter. Moreover, the list will remind you that you are still in control of your life. If you are still bothered by the number of things that you haven’t done yet, take the time to complete them at night. Instead of tossing and turning on your bed and forcing yourself to sleep when you know that it’ll never come, grab this opportunity to work. This may be your chance to shorten your list even further.

When you feel that you have finally done something worthwhile, help your body further by doing these time-tested methods:

1. Take a hot bath before you go to bed. This helps lower your body temperature, thus preparing you to get into the hibernation mode.

 

2. Drink a glass of warm milk. If most parents have said this, then there must be some semblance of truth to it. Facts have proven that milk contains a certain acid called tryptophan. This is an amino acid that converts itself to serotonin, a chemical that makes you drowsy.

 

3. Exercise in the morning. As you work out, you release adrenaline which gives you energy to go through your daily activities. As the day progresses, this subsides, thus making you eventually tired.

 

4. Stop glancing at your watch when you’re in bed. This will only agitate you as you see time tick by.

As much as possible, try contemplating on things only during the day. Sleep is what makes you function because this is your way of recharging your body with the energy it needs. You may not be aware of it, but you may be lengthening your life when you get into the habit of sleeping right.

 

Women’s Health- How To Improve Your Mental Well Being

As a woman, you know what it’s like to be over-scheduled. You know what it’s like to give to and care of others more than you do for yourself. You know what it’s like to put yourself last because someone who depends on you needs your time.

You know what it’s like to work hard all day and come home to take care of responsibilities at home, too. Or you work hard at home all day and still your work doesn’t end just because the sun sets.

Being on emotional and psychological overload has become a way of life for many women. They are strong and they can handle a lot, but sometimes in the cycle, they often lose sight of the fact that that in order to keep giving to those they love or doing what they love, they have to recharge, they have to center themselves again.

The following seven tips can help you improve your mental well being and you’ll discover that when you feel better mentally, you feel better all over.

Tip #1 – If you’re overextended, ask for help. If you feel like a mouse chasing the cheese and the cheese keeps four steps ahead of you, then you’re doing too much. It’s normal to want to handle responsibilities without wanting to ask for help. But when you’re too busy, that can lead to feelings of stress or burning out.

Tip #2 – Get rid of negativity. If you have relationships that are bad for you, it’s time to cut ties. Surround yourself with positive people – people who will nourish you and support you. Let go of past emotional hurts and anything that ties you to a negative experience.

Tip #3 – Just STOP! As a woman, you’re so busy, so on the go that you never just stop and do nothing. Even on days off, you’re busy doing something that you feel has to be taken care of. Give yourself time to stop. Take off – be unavailable to everyone but you. Meditate, get involved in yoga or something else that relaxes you.

Tip #4 – Take part in activities that you enjoy. We often let go of what we enjoy doing. We push it off to the side because we don’t feel we have the time. Make time for the activities you love.

Tip #5 – Physical health, including rest and exercise, is closely tied in to mental well being. Make sure that you’re taking care of yourself through eating right, getting plenty of rest and exercising.

Tip #6 – Unload your burdens. Don’t carry around stress inside. We all need an outlet to talk about the things that bother or upset us. Talk to your friends, a therapist, or even use a journal to get out the things that give you a heavy mental load.

Tip #7 – Live your passion. If you feel stuck or you feel like life is passing you by – or this isn’t what you signed up for, change it. It’s never too late to chase a passion you have. You might not be able to pack up and move to Paris today if that’s your dream, but take smaller steps to reach that goal if that’s what you want.

Stress And Chronic Headaches

Do you seem to get headaches frequently?  Not migraine headaches that incapacitate you, but common headaches that creep up on you and ruin your day. Stop looking for another pill to pop and try to identify the source of these headaches, which may be brought on by stress.

 

Chronic headaches may come from one of three sources:

 

Stress and Tension – Stress has a way of accumulating like the clutter in your hall closet. Eventually, it just overflows. Along with stress, you feel tension in your muscles. And the tension spreads until your shoulders are tired, your neck feels like it can’t hold up your head and eventually – your head throbs.

 

The pain actually comes from decreased blood flow to you head, but that’s the physical explanation. The real root cause is stress.  If you want to stop the tension headaches, you have to take time to relax.

 

Walk away from work and take a break. Don’t bring work home with you. Give yourself twenty minutes to unwind after work. Lie down or recline in a comfortable chair. Put a cool gel pack over your eyes and think about anything except your to-do list and the problems of the day. You may prefer to use that time to meditate or pray. Just give yourself time to transition so that you can enjoy your dinner and prepare for a good nights sleep. All of these things will help reduce your stress levels and tension headaches.

Insomnia – You simply have to have a good night’s sleep. That means 8 hours, not 5 hours and a cat nap. You need enough restful sleep to allow the body to repair itself and overcome what you put it through during the day. If you aren’t getting enough sleep or good quality sleep, you are a candidate for headaches. And don’t try to self-medicate with sleep aids. See your doctor to find out the reason for the sleep problem and work it out.

Undiagnosed Medical Condition – A headache may be a warning sign that you need a medical checkup. Particularly if you have not had headaches often in the past and suddenly you have them daily, then you need to find out why. Don’t panic and think that a headache must mean a brain tumor, but it could. More likely it’s a symptom of something less severe. Either way, you need to pay attention to this headache and respect that your body is desperately trying to get your attention.

Smoking, alcohol and illegal drugs can also be responsible for producing headaches. Your body does not perform well when treated with such disregard. Fad diets and highly restrictive diets can also throw your body out of balance so much that you start to get headaches.

Listen to the message in your headache and do something to gain long term relief.