How Stress Can Affect Every Organ in Your Body!
Different factors, related to our lifestyle and nutrition, have been contributing to an increase in the occurrence of disease. But, there is one factor that usually goes unnoticed: stress.
Biologically, stress is designed to help us better react to our environment. In the early days, when humans where hunting for food, stress would give them a burst of increased alertness to help them decide whether to ‘fight’ or ‘flight’: whether to attack a predator or run away.
But stress isn’t all good. When we are stressed for too long or too often, it can damage virtually every part of our body.
When we are experiencing stress, our brain gets a signal that we are being exposed to a potential threat. The amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for emotional responses, sends a message to the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for hormone production. This results in adrenalin and cortisol, the stress hormones, to be released into the bloodstream.
Cortisol boosts your blood sugar. Adrenalin increases your heart rate, pumping more blood to your muscles to increase their oxygen and nutritional levels. All of this to get you ready to fight or flight.
This process happens every time you are under stress. Your body can’t differentiate between real or imagined stress and it will have the same reaction regardless of the level of stress you are experiencing.
What happens to the rest of your body when you are stressed?
1- Your Brain
Regular stress will disrupt your sleeping patterns and can cause insomnia and headaches. This can create a vicious cycle of anxiety and depression that might result in substance abuse.
2- Your Immune System
Cortisol, the hormone responsible for boosting your blood sugar when under stress, is also responsible for regulating the inflammatory reactions of your body.
When you are experiencing chronic stress, your body becomes less sensitive to this hormone. This disrupts the control of inflammation.
A chronic low-level inflammation can go unnoticed and will make your body more susceptible to infections and disease. In the long term, it can possibly lead to severe health concerns such as cancer.
3- Your Heart
When stressed, your heart rate increases. If stimulated for a long period of time, the heart muscle gets tired and that results in high blood pressure. All of these symptoms can contribute to cardiovascular conditions.
4- Your Weight
When you are experiencing chronic stress, you have higher cortisol levels in your bloodstream. This can slow your metabolism and result in weight gain, irrespective of your food intake.
Cortisol imbalances can also push you to crave high fat foods or anything that gives you a boost of energy.
Chronic stress can also cause your body to store more abdominal fat.
All of these factors will contribute to your weight gain.
If you have been experiencing stress, there are simple and easy things you can start practicing at home feel better.
Meditation has been great in helping people deal with stress. It will allow you to identify the source of the stress and better deal with it. It will also help you sleep better and regulate your food cravings.
Breathing techniques are also a great way to reduce stress and relax your body.
You can also attend regular yoga classes, go spend some time in nature, practise intense exercise, or try aromatherapy to help you feel better.
We hope that these techniques will help, but if you feel like you need a stronger form of support, we highly recommend you check with your alternative therapist for more specific recommendations.