Everyone will experience stress at some point in their life. It can often stem from a demanding career, a busy home life, or a personal issue. While small bursts of stress are fine, too much can negatively affect both the mind and body. Frequent stress cannot only lead to anxiety and depression, but it can cause various physical complaints. Keep reading to find out how stress can affect your physical health.
Muscular tension is a common side effect of stress. The muscles contract for protection against injury but then release once you feel relaxed. However, if you often feel stressed, your muscles will have limited opportunity to relax and recover.
As a result, many people living with chronic stress can experience shoulder and back pain, which is often accompanied by headaches and body aches. If this sounds familiar, you must look for ways to ease back pain, such as staying active or trying natural pain relief products.
A Weakened Immune System
A little stress can boost your immune system, as the stimulation can help combat infections and speed up healing. However, long-term stress can weaken your immune system, which could make it harder to overcome an illness. Also, you might become more susceptible to different viruses, such as the common cold or the flu. Boost your immune system by finding ways to relax, adopting a nutritious diet, and stop smoking.
Stress can increase glucose (blood sugar) production that can increase energy levels. However, chronic stress will lead to an excess production that could increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Plus, as stress can increase your heart rate and lead to rapid breathing, it could play havoc with your digestive system, as it may cause:
- Acid reflux
- Stomach cramps
Rapid breathing is a common side effect of stress, as the muscles that support breathing may tense up. However, if you have a respiratory condition, such as emphysema or asthma, intense stress could make it harder for you to breathe.
Whenever you struggle with rapid breathing, you must breathe deeply into your stomach without force. Also, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. It can help your body enter a more relaxed state, which will slow down your breathing and heart rate.
Research has found chronic stress can contribute to heart disease. When your body is under intense, constant stress, it will pump faster. Plus, your stress hormones will constrict your blood vessels, which will direct oxygen to your muscles. While this can improve your strength to combat a threat to your body, it will also raise your blood pressure. If you often battle with stress, your heart will need to work harder on a regular basis. Constant high blood pressure could then increase your likelihood of a heart attack or stroke.
So, if you want to protect your physical health throughout the years, you cannot neglect your mental health. Look for ways to lower your stress levels each day, as you could avoid triggers, go for a walk outdoors, make time for a hobby, or try a natural stress reliever.