Stress is truly an epidemic during our time of technological and medical advances. How ironic. And to think that this is actually a time where everything is automated for the benefit of mankind, food sources are plenty and medical advancements have found the cure for even the deadliest of diseases.
Still, modern medicine has failed to protect us against stress, the silent destroyer. Research shows that 75% to 90% of all doctor visits are stress-related. Surely one might think that countless medications are available such as sleep aids, sedatives and anxiolytic pills. However, uncontrolled use of the above mentioned pills have proven to have more side effects and tend to create bigger problems than they claim to fix.
So let us look at the 10 effects of stress on your body mind and soul:
Table of Contents
- 1 1) Stress causes high levels of cortisol in the body
- 2 2) Stress results in bad quality sleep and insufficient rest
- 3 3) Increased risk for coronary heart disease
- 4 4) Bad stress management can often lead to emotional disorders and psychological problems
- 5 5) Stress also raises the levels of fear in our body
- 6 6) Your breathing will become more difficult
- 7 7) Stress can destroy muscles
- 8 8) Stress can raise your cholesterol!
- 9 9) Stress influences the function of digestive organs
- 10 10) Stress can severely impact your sexual life!
1) Stress causes high levels of cortisol in the body
Cortisol is a stress hormone which is activated under periods of extreme stress (like when you are trying not to get eaten by something bigger) and is an ancient survival mechanism of the body. It dissolves muscle tissue and encourages fat storage in the body. When stress kicks in, you essential switch on cortisol production which turns you into a fat-making machine.
Remember that high levels of fat in the body is also a leading risk for coronary heart disease.
2) Stress results in bad quality sleep and insufficient rest
Rest is also needed for lowering stress levels and therefore lowering cortisol levels in the body.
That being said, the most important function and purpose of rest and sleep is regulating proper hormone production and regenerating our body, tissues and brain.
The less sleep and rest you get, the faster you age and eventually get sick and die.
3) Increased risk for coronary heart disease
Some say that coronary heart disease comes from genetics or bad eating habits.
Stress however rates higher than the above on the danger scale, especially for people who live a sedentary lifestyle and have no way of releasing their stress by blowing off steam.
4) Bad stress management can often lead to emotional disorders and psychological problems
Some of these problems are very hard to treat and can put a person’s life at risk. Obsessions, addictive behaviors, bad eating habits, anorexia, drug use are only a few of these psychological problems that have their roots in high stress levels.
5) Stress also raises the levels of fear in our body
Fear in turn activates our sympathetic nervous system, which is originally intended for times of survival such as when you are running away from a predator. This is called the fight or flight response.
This response triggers the release of adrenaline and cortisol in the blood which causes the heart to beat faster, increased respiration and makes other functions of the body such as digestion to shut down. Chronic stress can drain the whole body by overworking the above mechanism.
6) Your breathing will become more difficult
Breathing is linked to our physical existence. We stop breathing, our heart stops beating, we die. It’s that simple.
By not breathing properly, our blood does not get enough oxygen, therefore internal organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys and liver are not operating at their maximal capacity and therefore their muscles become smaller and weaker.
High stress levels can actually undo our breathing training.
7) Stress can destroy muscles
As a result of high stress, all muscles will eventually get weaker, including those of the inner organs.
Muscles are an important component of our bodies. Weak muscles will lead to muscle imbalances and those in turn can lead to joint and ligament problems. All this will cause mobility problems.
Keep in mind that your heart is a big muscle. That is one muscle that must always stay strong!
Some people might think that stress is harmless. I mean it cannot put them in a wheelchair! Well, they don’t call stress the silent killer for nothing.
8) Stress can raise your cholesterol!
It does so by raising your HDL (good cholesterol) and lowering your LDL (bad cholesterol) and therefore disrupting the proper cholesterol ratio in the body. Cholesterol is the mother of all hormones. When cholesterol levels are not optimal, then the body focuses on fixing that problem and in turn all other hormones stop working while this happens.
9) Stress influences the function of digestive organs
When the organs that are responsible for our digestion (such as the stomach) are not working properly, digestion becomes problematic. Ulcers, stomach aches and even hemorrhoid problems appear when someone’s nutrition is not optimal.
10) Stress can severely impact your sexual life!
For men, stress can cause problems in the reproductive system such as premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction disorder are very common in men with high stress levels.
Meanwhile for women, it can lead to irregular menstrual cycles, mood swings and painful periods.
Loss of sexual desire is very common in both sexes. When your body is taught to live with stress, basic survival becomes your body’s primary task while the need for procreation takes the backseat.
With all these side-effects in mind, proper nutrition, exercise, rest and stress management techniques become an absolute necessity for everyone living in fast-paced and stress-inducing modern world.
Understanding how dangerous stress can be for our health is the first step to improving our health. It is our duty to optimize all factors in our life to be able to properly handle stress in healthy ways. In a future post I will share with you tips, techniques, supplements and herbs that will help you deal with stress so that you can continue living your life, strong, healthy and free!
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by Nick Sigma SHF
CWC, EH, E-YRT200