As long as you are alive, you must face stress some day. Actually, anxiety is a natural physical and mental reaction to the body. A human body reacts to stress by releasing certain hormones and increasing the breathing and heart rates. Also, during stress the brain is likely to gain more oxygen, thus giving the stressed person an edge in responding to the situation.
Bear in mind that stress is triggered by our day to day responsibilities. This can be at workplace or at home. As you already know, negative life events such as death or divorce are likely to cause anxiety. Traumatic stress is brought about by things such as violent attacks, disaster or war. Also, chronic stress may cause a variety of symptoms and this is likely to affect your overall body health and well-being. These can actually keep your body’s stress level higher for you to bear. Highlighted below are the problems associated with stress.
1. Central Nervous System
The central nervous system helps a human body to respond in many situations. The nervous system instantly tells the entire body what to do, any time. When perceived fear is gone, the nervous system would tell other body organs to get back to normal. But if the nervous system fails to go back to normal or the stressing factor doesn’t fade away, your body is adversely affected. Some of the symptoms that may follow include anxiety, irritability and depression. Also, you may suffer from severe headaches or insomnia. Mostly, chronic stress occurs due to things such as hunger, drug abuse and social withdrawal.
2. Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems
It is worth to note that stress hormones affect the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. When you are stressed up, you tend to breathe quickly in order to distribute oxygen and blood to other parts of the body. If you are already suffering from respiratory problems like asthma, stress can make it more difficult for you to breathe. This means your heart will beat at a faster rate. Also, the stress hormones will make your blood vessels to tighten and this is likely to raise the blood pressure. Consequently, chronic stress makes your heart work excessively, thus increasing the risk of getting hypertension and heart diseases. In fact, you are at a higher risk of getting heart attack.
3. Digestive System
When you are under stress, the liver produces extra glucose in order to give your body an energy boost. Then, the unused sugar is absorbed in the body. If you are under chronic stress, your body may not be in a position to cope up with the excess glucose. This may land you in the risk of getting type 2 diabetes. In essence, rush of hormones, increased heart beat, and rapid breathing are likely to upset your digestive system. You are likely to have acidic flux or heart burn. Also, you are likely to experience nausea, vomiting and stomach-ache. Also note that stress can affect the way food moves through the body and this is likely to cause diarrhea or constipation.
4. Muscular System
When you are under stress, your body muscles are likely to tense up. This is to guard your body from external injury. If you have been stressed up before, you might have realized that your muscles tightened and the relaxed after the stress faded away. If you are constantly under stress, your muscles do not get any chance to relax. If the muscles are tightened, you are likely to suffer from severe headaches and body aches. With time, this problem may become worse and force you to seek medical attention.
5. Sexuality and Reproductive System
Stress affects both body and mind. It is very common to lose your sexual desire when you are stressed up. However, men can produce more testosterone hormone when they are stressed up, which may increase sexual arousal in the short term. But if the stress continues for a long time, the man’s testosterone levels start to drop. This may interfere with sperm production and thus cause erectile dysfunction. For women, stress has a huge impact on menstrual cycle. It may lead to irregular menstruation or painful periods.
6. Immune System
Studies show that stress stimulates the immune system. It is actually a bonus in the short term since it helps in healing body disorders like wounds. But in the long run, your immune system is greatly compromised. People who are chronically stressed are more vulnerable to viral illnesses such as common cold or influenza.
It is always good to know how to manage stress. The best thing to do is to identify what is causing the stress and see if you can turn your mind away from that. If this seems hard, you may seek advice from an experienced stress therapist.