effects of stress on your body

The effects of stress on your body

Stress is a biological reaction of our body towards different situations that we face with. We all had those moments of weakness, a feeling of overloading and the struggle to cope with demands. This feeling can be related to work, our relationships and every challenge that we face with and we see as a threat. Stress can be a trigger of motivation but also a source of negativity and it can affect our health on a long term.

Effects of stress on your body

1. Insomnia

When you are stressed and overwhelmed you have troubles falling asleep or staying asleep, this does not affect only your health but also your relationships and work productivity. This is a very common sleep disorder, caused by worries which can keep your mind active during the night. Your daily issues can make you anxious. This can get worse, by having depression and other moods related to stressful situations that we face with.

2. Weak immune system

Getting sick after a stressful situation, is not just a simple coincidence. Our body is a complicated system in which everything communicates. Our brain and immune system are connected; this means that any psychological upset can result in physical symptoms. Have you noticed that after a stressful period of time you feel dizzy and you lose your appetite? This are signals that your body is suffering because of stress. Stress effects are cumulative and affects our daily routine, which can lead to serious health issues.

3. Weight gain

One of the many ways that our body is affected by stress, is by growing appetite. When we are stressed, cortisol, the stress hormone is released in our bodies. When cortisol appears, we will crave for more food, especially less healthy food like snacks containing a lot of sugar and fat content. This is just a way for our bodies to defend themselves, by starting to retain body weight.

4. Skin and hair problems

Stress can even have more visible effects such as affecting our nails, skin or hair. The stress hormone, cortisol, tells to our glandes in our skin to make more oil, which leads to skin problems such as: acne and eczema. Also, too much stress to your body, can result into hair loss due to a disruption in the natural growth and rest cycle of hair. Both women and men can face with this problem during a
lifetime.

5. Stress can affect your muscles
If you feel that your muscles are always tight, sometimes in persistent pain, you probably have cramps or muscles spams, also called anxiety muscle tension symptoms. These can last between several minutes to hours and the feeling will not disappear until the muscles relax. This kind of stress effect can appear in any group of muscles from our bodies. This pains are caused by stress hormones secreted into bloodstream, where they travel in our body. This is seen as a threat, and the body responds by contracting muscles.

Tips and tricks to overcome the stress issues

  • Don’t ignore the problem that is stressing you out, even if it seems it is fading. Look for support in your family, friends or if the case seek professional support. You can also find a group that socially supports you. When you talk about your problems you can better understand what makes you anxious and you can find solutions to overcome stress. 
  • If you want to improve your sleep quality, pay more attention to sleep hygiene. So, don’t work, eat or do any other activities that will be more comfortable in bed, other than sleeping. 
  • To overcome insomnia, I recommend practicing a deep breathing exercise before going to sleep. Sit in a comfortable position, in a quiet room. Take deep breaths and while you do so count to three on the way in and on the way out. While you carry out this exercise you should try your best not to think at anything. Just clear out your mind. The first few times you will find this difficult, but you if you keep counting in your mind and you focus only on that you will see it will help you take your mind of your problems. Repeat the deep breath exercise at least 10 times per night. You can increase the number of times until you feel better. Make sure you go straight to bed after this exercise. Don’t watch any TV and don’t spend time on your phone / tablet after the exercise as it can bring back your worries. 
  • To get rid of muscles sourness, rest the part of your body that is painful, be sure that you have near a pain reliever, even apply ice on the affected area. You can also stretch your muscles or you can go for a professional massage. 
  • Regarding hair loss and skin problems, you must realise that your body needs to recover. This can be done by sleeping well, having a healthy diet & a regular exercise program. 
  • To strengthen your immune system, try to eat foods which contain a lot of vitamins, get adequate sleep and most importantly: try to minimise the stress.
  • To avoid gaining weight you should try to trick your mind when you eat by: 
    • Eating dark chocolate or forest berries instead of eating foods that are high in sugar, like chocolate, cakes, pastries or ice-cream. You can also find on the market or you can bake sweets that are sugar free but that are as tasty as the normal ones. 
    • Eating healthy food, lots of vegetables and fruits and home cooked meals instead of processed foods. You can find on my blog lots of recipes that are tasty, healthy and quick to prepare. 
    • Stop eating foods that are high in salt or fried foods. Instead go for sweet potato fries that are baked in the oven, baked falafel, stir fry dishes, grilled veggies and meats or eat nuts and seeds.
Most important be kind with yourself and build your confidence slowly. Take a break from all your worries and from your hectic life when you need it. Rest properly, carry out activities that you enjoy and spend quality time with family and friends. Learn how to meditate and exercise a few times per week.
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