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7 Ways Stress Affects Your Body And Tips To Get Rid Of It

By Janhavi Patel

Stress. It's everywhere. Or at least it's a word you hear someone around you say once a day.

80% of the world's population has reported experiencing stress on a daily basis. Many in the age group of 15-25 report to needing help with managing stress, and if they don't learn at that age, it's difficult to manage stress later.

how does stress affect the body

Most cases have been reported from workplaces. Younger people seem to be victims of this ever-increasing trend of being stressed. And stress is contagious! Yes, you read it right. Studies have proved that when in the company of a stressed individual, your neurons replicate their behaviour.

So, What Is Stress?

Stress is the body's way of reacting to life experiences, danger, and threat. It's your body's way of protecting you. Stress can help you meet challenges and stay focused, alert, and energetic when at a healthy level.

But when it crosses the threshold, it can result in anxiety, restlessness, headaches, chest pain, depression, loss of sexual desire, fatigue, anger, etc.

Stress affects every system in your body. Here's how-

1. Immune System
2. Reproductive System
3. Muscular System
4. Digestive System
5. Cardiovascular System
6. Respiratory System
7. Central Nervous System

1. Immune System:

As we know, stress instigates the immune system for quick action. This could be helpful in case of infections and open wounds where immediate action is required. But if the body is under stress over time, the effect is reversed.

People who are continuously under stress are more prone to common colds and flu. Stress hormones weaken the immune system and also reduce its ability to respond quickly. You can also see that the body takes more time and energy to recover from illnesses.

2. Reproductive System:

When men are under stress, testosterone is produced at higher levels. But this doesn't last. Which means you lose your desire. This is also because a stressed body is always tired and lacking energy. In more serious conditions, this leads to erectile dysfunction.

For women, you could experience irregular and more painful periods than normal and, of course, there's loss of desire in bed.

3. Muscular System:

When stressed, your muscles are tensed. They obviously relax when you're rid of stress, but imagine being in a constant state of stress.

This means your muscles are constantly stressed leading to headaches, joint injuries, muscular spasms, back pain, shoulder pain, or full-body aches. You stop exercising with all the pain and need medical attention.

4. Digestive System:

Stress affects how food moves through your body which could cause constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, tummy aches, nausea, etc. When under stress, your liver is pushed to break down more sugar, which is higher blood sugar levels to keep up with the energy your body needs.

If this crosses a certain level you could start suffering from diabetes. The rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and surge in hormones could affect your digestive juice production, increasing your chances of heartburn and acidity.

5. Cardiovascular System:

Your heart rate shoots up when under stress! More blood is pumped through the body to supply enough oxygen to cells to keep up with the spiking action. Muscles require more oxygen, the brain cells require more oxygen to process, leading to high blood pressure. This increases your risks of getting a stroke.

6. Respiratory System:

Stress hormones cause havoc in your respiratory system. Rapid breathing is observed. This is because more oxygen-rich blood needs to be transported through the body. If you already suffer from a breathing condition, the symptoms could exacerbate.

7. Central Nervous System:

This system is the master of all systems. It is this system that is responsible to make your body the way it works when it senses conditions of being under stress. The hypothalamus is alerted to release the stress hormones - cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones work across the body, absorbing more oxygen into the blood, transporting it, inducing quick responses, etc.

When stress has been got rid of, the hypothalamus must again send messages through the body to bring it back to normal. Under chronic stress, this ability of the organ sometimes gets hampered. And this is fatal for the entire body.

The habits of overeating, alcohol consumption, drug abuse, not eating enough and social withdrawal during chronic stress originate here.

Seeing how stress can affect the entire body, we need to work on reducing it and encourage others around you to do the same. You deserve it, no one has to live life on the edge with your body at risk.

There Are Simple Ways That Can Help You Reduce Stress -

• Meditate for at least 5 minutes and breathe deeply.
• Slow down and be present in the moment.
• If required, reach out for help, from a professional or a loved one.
• Tune into your body and understand its requirement.
• Be grateful for what you have and don't run behind things that will cost you your body.

Be stress-free, treat your body well, it's your holy sanctuary.

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    Read more about: stress health immunity
    Story first published: Friday, June 29, 2018, 19:30 [IST]
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