The Physical Dangers
Stressful Life Can Cause Serious Health Problems
is the ultimate proof of the mind-body connection.
mind perceives the stress; your body reacts to it in physically. In fact, there
really isn't a part of your body that isn't affected by stress.
by its very nature, starts with the brain. Your body reacts like a roller coaster
to the anxiety. It takes you up fast. And then brings you crashing down
just as fast.
perceived level of threat stimulates a surge of hormones which is
the cause of the heightened state of alertness which accompanies the
stress. That's why, very often, you find you can neither sleep nor
relax while you're in this state.
since your body can't continue in this hyper-mode for a long time, you soon find
that once the hormone level subsides, you are brought back down. This is when
you experience the headaches, moodiness, memory loss, inability to concentrate
and, at times, even aggressive behavior.
well known that stress suppresses and weakens your immune system, your first line
of defense against colds, the flu, and other health issues. Your reaction to stress
lowers your body's white blood cell count which reduces your system's ability
to heal itself.
a doubt, the most widely researched effects of stress on the body deal with the
heart. It has been widely publicized that more heart attacks occur at the beginning
of the work week Monday than any other day of the week. As an interesting side
note, many of those heart attacks occur in the parking lot of the person's place
of employment in the morning.
of the lesser known physical symptoms of stress reveal themselves in some of the
most unlikely places, like the ears, the lungs, and even in the hair. Those racing
hormones which give us the ability to react more quickly to our perceived danger
also heighten our sense of hearing. While this may sound like a benefit, in reality,
it can be a danger. Research conducted at Cornell University revealed that even
a moderate amount of noise is capable of elevating the damaging stress hormones.
study indicates that a collection of smaller noisy stressors taken together
can actually be more stressful than one time loud noise. So, moms, it's
not your imagination: a loud television in the background, kids yelling and screaming,
horns honking and other noises really do send your nerves on end.
large part of the fight-or-flight response resides in your lungs. One of our first
reactions to a stressful situation is to hyperventilate. With hyperventilation,
the human body pumps its lungs full of extra oxygen that will soon be needed in
the bloodstream to run from threats, which in prehistoric era meant a large, deadly
today, our threats aren't as overt as that. So for the most part our increased
breathing causes dizziness and pains in the diaphragm. Severe stress, additionally,
exacerbates existing asthma conditions and any other preexisting respiratory problems.
shouldn't be surprised that under conditions of continual stress you discover
that your hair isn't as shiny as it once was. In fact, you may even discover that
you're losing some of your hair. Hair loss is part of your body's very real reaction
to tension. Hair is considered by many a barometer of your inner health. So in
stressful situations your hair may be the first part of your body to feel the
old movies that show a woman who has just been scared witless by some monster
suddenly developing a streak of gray hair aren't far from the truth because stress
triggers the autoimmune system to attack its own hair follicles.
good example of stress and hair-related issues is to examine the men who become
U.S. presidents. If the individual didn't enter the office with gray hair, he
certainly left with it after even as few as four years. An even more severe reaction
is that you may discover your hair is actually falling out.
Physical Consequences of Stress
you know that stress can even cause bad breath, and dry mouth? Because you take
shorter, shallower breaths when you're feeling anxious, you also discover that
it's harder to swallow. You might even react to stress by clenching your jaws
or grinding your teeth. This even occurs during the middle of the night, when
one would think that stress shouldn't be present.
hormonal rush of adrenaline also causes your eyes to dilate. While this improves
your vision, a trait that would have helped our primitive ancestors in dealing
with dangerous situations. But, as with stress-related hearing responses, this
reaction also has a down side.
triggers eye ticks. Your muscles just can't sustain this level of alertness for
very long. They soon grow tired. Some individuals even find that their eyes bulge
from the stress that over-stimulates the thyroid gland.
brain under perceived anxiety instructs your muscles to constrict,
tightening them in preparation for either a literal fight with the threat or for
the run away from the danger. In addition to causing sore muscles, chronic stress
has been known to put the body at a greater risk of sprain. Stress over long periods
also aggravates existing cases of rheumatoid arthritis.
skin is your body's largest organ, so it should come as no surprise that even
the skin isn't immune from the adverse affects of chronic tension. Symptoms such
as increased acne, rashes and itchy patches are made worse by the continued presence
of nervous tension.
you noticed that when some people are embarrassed they blush? This too is a reaction
to stress. Yet the same stressor can cause others to go pale. Hives? They can
result when the skin reacts physically to stress. In fact, just about any skin
condition will worsen when it's subjected to stress.
disease which many refer to as shingles is very often triggered by stress. Shingles
caused by the virus herpes zoster is related to the same virus that causes chicken
Diarrhea. Even spastic colon. These are only a few of the ways your digestive
system may react to daily, chronic stress. The brain when laboring under
the threat of constant tension actually diverts blood from the digestive
tract, which effectively slows your digestion. Stress additionally increases acid
production, which only increases any existing ulcers. Exposing your system to
prolonged stress also increases your chances of developing colitis and irritable
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