A number of physical effects of stress can help us to identify and timely address the problem. Making a correct diagnosis is key to overcome stress.
Watch out for the symptoms of stress – once you have identified how your body physically reacts to stress you can put in action a strategy of how to deal with stress
Hot and cold waves
Inability to focus
Low self esteem
Sense of vomiting
When you are threatened — a car is about to hit you or a large dog barks at you — your hypothalamus which is a small region at the base of your brain triggers an unconscious physical reaction of your body.
Your brain literally makes your adrenal glands, located atop of the kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline makes your heart beat faster, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies to the muscles. Cortisol, also called the primary stress hormone, increases sugars in the bloodstream, enhances your brain's use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.
Unfortunately cortisol also suppresses some of the vital body functions which are not so much needed while trying to find a way out of the threatening situation. For instance you do not need too much of a digesting effort while a dog barks at you. You better have your muscles ready to run fast or climb on a tree.
This suppression of vital processes, although necessary to avoid the threatening situation, may be serious threat itself, if maintained in the long run, causing numerous health problems. For instance if the body is constantly under stress and the stress hormone levels constantly deter normal brain functions impacting hunger, fear or mood, eventually the result may be serious health conditions such as depression, anxiety, extreme weight loss or gain or sleeping problems.
It is believed that more than 50% of all visits to doctors are initially caused by stress.
Many health care professionals consider stress as one of the fundamental reasons for illnesses such as cancer and heart attack.
Others have already proved that humans under stress are more vulnerable and not resistant to trivial diseases such as simple flu.
Numerous couples all around the world and especially Europe and USA are struggling in having their own babies because of stress.
More than 60% of all men on this planet suffer the pains of inflamed hemorrhoids the main reasons for which are the work under pressure and the inability of meeting numerous tight deadlines.
Stress may accumulate slowly so it may be difficult to notice it and if not relieved it may seriously affect your overall health.
For instance usual daily routines such as driving might turn out to be constant sources of stress, which slowly and persistently affect our physical and emotional state.
Thus stress accumulates day by day and the physical effects of stress may show up unnoticed by you.
When stress physically or psychologically the body suddenly shifts its energy resources to fighting off the perceived threat. In what is known as fight or flight response, the sympathetic nervous system signals the adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol.
These hormones make the heart beat faster, raise blood pressure, change the digestive process and boost glucose levels in the bloodstream. Once the crisis passes the systems usually return to normal
Under stress muscles tense up. The contraction of muscles for extended periods can trigger tension headaches, migraines and various musculoskeletal conditions.
Stress can make you breathe harder and cause rapid breathing, which can bring on panic attacks in some people.
Acute stress – stress that is momentary, such as being stuck in the traffic – cause an increase in heart rate and stronger contractions of the heart muscle. Blood vessels that direct blood to the large muscles and to the heart dilate, increasing the amount of blood pumped to these parts of the body. Repeated episodes of stress can cause inflammation in the coronary arteries, thought to lead to heart attack.
Highbloodpressureinfo.org is an interesting site where you can find more details about the effects of stress on your blood pressure.
When the body is stressed the brain sends signals from the hypothalamus, causing the adrenal complex to produce cortisiol and the adrenal modulla to produce epinerphine – sometimes called “stress hormones”
When cortisol and epinerphine are released, the liver produces more glucose, a blood sugar that would give you the necessary energy to fight or flight in an emergency.
Stress may prompt you to eat more or much less than you usually do. If you eat more or different foods or increase your use of tobacco or alcohol you may experience heartburn or acid reflux.
Your stomach may react with “butterflies” or even nausea or pain. You can vomit if the stress is severe enough.
Stress can affect digestion and which nutrients your intestines absorb. It can also affect how quickly the food moves through your body. You may find that you have diarrhea or constipation.
In men excess levels of cortisol, produced under stress, can affect the normal functioning of the reproductive system. Chronic stress can impair testosterone and sperm production and cause impotence.
In women stress cause absent or irregular menstrual cycles or more painful periods. It can also reduce sexual desire.
SOURCE: American Psychological Association
The immune system is the internal system which is designed to protect us from any external bodies (viruses or bacteria). It costs a lot to the body meaning that it has very high energy usage.
Under stress your body needs energy to run or fight! This is why it changes its chemistry to suppress the immune system. This is why we usually get ill before or after exams or big challenges at work. Check some more details regarding the impact stress has on your immune sytem.
Let’s now have a look at some of the most frequent physical effects of stress:
Most of those are normal reactions of ours to changes in the surrounding environment. They become indicative physical effects of stress if they manifest persistently in the course of time and we can not restore completely to our normal physical condition.
It is all about you!
The fight against the physical effects of stress starts from realizing the real problem. And the real problem is that stress exhausts your body on a daily basis. This means that urgent counter actions on your behalf are necessary - on a daily basis as well.
Have a look at the 5 SIMPLE STEPS STRESS MANAGING STRATEGY which helps you blend in your daily round the effective actions which will reduce stress levels and will make the physical effects of stress disappear.
The good news is that more and more employers realize that productivity of their employees is closely related to the levels of stress they experience on a daily basis. Thus they start to be more and more interested in the ways to reduce stress levels at the work place and in this way limit as much as possible any physical effects of stress.
For instance some American companies report reduced paid leave after the implementation of stress relief areas in the company where employees can rest in calm for a couple of minutes during the day.
Adding gyms and other leisure activity areas or just organizing stress management seminars can also contribute to the overall reduction of stress levels experienced by employees.
Found a strange human reaction to stress? Share your unique observations to others who are also trying to identify when they are under stress.
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