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What is stress?
Stressful situations can occur from time to time in all aspects of your life. Stress can start to creep in before you even know it, whether work-related, exam-related, or issues in your life. Stress can manifest itself in numerous ways and is often attributed to other disorders and more severe health concerns.
These can be depression, anxiety, anger issues, and even cancer. The following tips can reduce stress levels, deal with fear, and increase self-control at these stressful points in your life.
How Stress Affects Human Body Physically
Current hectic lifestyles have taken a toll on most people’s lives. With crazy workplace deadlines and frantic family demands, individuals struggle with stress symptoms more than before. But what is stress, and how does it affect somebody’s life?
Stress refers to the physical or emotional strain caused by taxing thoughts or circumstances in one’s life. This may lead to anger, frustration, or nervousness as the body responds to demanding changes mentally, emotionally, and physically.
During a stressful episode, the hypothalamus, a tiny section of the human brain, releases stress hormones. As a result, the heart rate accelerates, breathing quickens, and muscles stiffen, ready to act. The response is a natural way of preparing your body to react during an emergency or chaotic time.
In some instances, stress positively impacts people’s lives by helping them beat a deadline or react while in danger. However, it may lead to disastrous health implications if it happens too often.
Common chronic stress symptoms include headaches, irritability, insomnia, depression, anxiety, stomach disorders, etc.
Side-effects of stress on various parts of the human body.
The Endocrine and Central Nervous systems Effect
When one goes through a challenging situation, the brain communicates to the adrenal glands to emit stress hormones, cortisol, and adrenaline. The hormones boost the heartbeat, which hastens the blood flow to where needed most in emergency times.
Once the traumatic incident is over, a properly performing hypothalamus regulates normal operations in all other body systems. If the central nervous system falls short, the body response continues.
Despite the positive impact of stress hormones on the human body, overproduction is not healthy. For instance, an excessive release of cortisol may increase glucose in the bloodstream.
Additionally, it may result in reduced energy levels for the stress victims. Since stress hormones affect the entire central nervous system, they may trigger behaviors like low appetite, overeating, social withdrawal, drug abuse, etc.
Respiratory System Effects Caused by Stress Symptoms
The respiratory system is a network of tissues and organs that assists one in breathing. It allows the body to absorb oxygen so that the organs can perform appropriately. Additionally, it helps remove waste gases from the blood, like carbon dioxide.
Stress affects respiratory functions, leading to various ailments like rapid breathing or shortness of breath. Stress may trigger severe asthma or panic attacks if someone has a pre-existing respiratory disorder.
The situation gets worse when one receives sorrowful news like the death of a close person. In such cases engaging a psychologist may help to relax the breathing system.
Stress Symptoms on the Digestive System
A human being’s gut contains many neurons that communicate to the brain. Also referred to as the gastrointestinal tract, it processes food through the digestive system from the mouth to the rectum.
The digestive system influences brain health and general well-being with several immune cells and good bacteria. Thus, it helps the body fight off fungi, viruses, and bacteria.
One disastrous effect of stress is that it affects healthy gut-brain communication, which causes bloating, stomachache, mood swings, or other discomforts. If not controlled early enough, it may result in chronic gut diseases like peptic ulcers and intestinal problems.
Stress also touches on the esophagus, which may cause victims to eat less or more. Overeating causes acid reflux or increased heartburn. In rare cases, stress may cause the esophagus to contract and give a similar reaction to a heart attack.
It may also affect the swallowing food process leading to bloating and burping of excess gas. With severe gas, one may get nauseous, which sometimes leads to vomiting or discomfort in the bowels.
Furthermore, stress affects the digestion process and blocks proper nutrients absorption from the intestines. As a result, it may weaken the intestinal barrier protection from harmful gut bacteria.
Your immune system may manage to fight off these bacteria but not for long. For people with chronic bowel issues, stress may worsen the situation.
Cardiovascular Stress Consequences
The cardiovascular system involves two essential elements; blood vessels and the heart. Both need to work well together to provide oxygen and nourishment to the body. The success of this process depends on an individual’s response to stressful incidents.
Chronic or short-term stress increases heart rate or severe heart contractions. As a result, it may cause the blood vessels that transport blood to and from the heart to dilate. This leads to an increased amount of blood pumped to various body parts, elevating blood pressure.
After the stressful episode, the body may regulate itself to the normal state. However, if experienced for a more extended period, it may contribute to enduring blood vessels and heart ailments like stroke, hypertension, or heart attack.
Prolonged stress may also cause inflammation in the arteries and other parts of the blood circulatory system. Experts mention that repeated stress affects cholesterol levels as well. Regular production of cholesterol is essential in building up healthy body cells.
Nonetheless, excess levels of it increase the chances of heart disease. More cholesterol in the blood vessels constrains normal blood flow in the arteries leading to chronic health implications.
Stress Influence on the Musculoskeletal System
One body response to stress is muscle tension. If one experiences stress more regularly, it may affect the muscle’s ability to keep guard. Irregular muscle functioning causes other body reactions like migraine headaches or chronic tension around the head, shoulder, and neck.
There are several relaxations and stress-relieving activities that effectively reduce muscle strain. For those experiencing chronic muscle discomforts, specific physical exercises may help.
Talk to an expert to identify the best therapies for your stress-related muscle nervous tension.
Results of Stress on the Immune System
Mild stress may kindle the body system, which benefits during urgent situations. However, if your body repeatedly releases stress hormones, it may affect the immune system leading to recurring body infections.
Chronic stress symptoms also prolong the time a human body takes to recover from an injury or illness. Again, these people are more at risk of viral ailments like colds and flu. This may escalate to other life-threatening related conditions.
Reproductive and Sexuality System Stress Effects
Stress affects the production of energy levels. During regular stressful periods, individuals may lose the desire for sexual activities. Sometimes, temporary pressure may increase the production of men’s testosterone hormone.
The response does not last for long as repeated stress reduces testosterone levels. Consequently, it may influence low sperm production and lead to impotence or erectile dysfunction.
In women, stress symptoms may put pressure on the menstrual system. From young girls in adolescence to older women going through menopause, stress may amplify menstrual cycles’ length and cause excruciating painful periods.
In other cases, it may cause irregular or absent periods for a considerable time, minimizing the chances of getting pregnant.
A little bit of stress here and there may not cause any alarm. It helps the body release helpful stress hormones ideal during urgent issues or strict deadlines. Nonetheless, constant chronic stress may exacerbate the severe health problems mentioned above.
The issue may worsen when stress victims use alcohol or other stimulants to amend it. For an effective stress management process, maintain a healthy support system, indulge in safe physical exercises, and sleep adequately.
How to relieve stress and tension headaches
Identify when you are stressed
Stress is the most common problem faced by many today. It is evident that you are stressed, but it is equally important to give attention to the circumstances pushing your body to stress.
There are a few things that the body shows signs of letting you know that it is stressed out. You will be tired, your eyes feel heavy, and your hands will go up, resting them on your head.
Know your stress response
When you are stressed, your body sends different signals notifying the same. You should pay attention to your body’s response to stress to detect the right strategy for stress relief.
The stress response may be overexcited like getting angry, over-emotional, or agitated, or it can be under excited stress like depression and spaced out with pressure.
Stress relief activities that quiet you down will help a lot if you have an over-excited response. If it is under excited stress, stress relief activities that are stimulating and energizing will do the job.
Take time to recharge.
To avoid the adverse effects of stress, you need time to replenish and return to your pre-stress level of functioning. You need to switch off from the work that triggers anxiety and take breaks to recharge yourself as a process.
If needed, plan for a vacation with family for a while and keep yourself away from work entirely and you will feel rejuvenated when you are back on track again. If it is not possible, you can even get a quick boost by switching to your smartphone and browsing through non-work-related activities for a while.
Indulge in the activities you enjoy
Worries in life are the central triggering point for stress. You should take your mind off your stress and take plenty of time to indulge in the activities you enjoy. Try listening to some soothing music, reading books, gardening, and spending time with family and friends.
You can also put time involved in creative activities and learn new things. Working on targets with small goals gives you a sense of achievement and is a stress reliever.
Spend time with friends and family
Getting social support from friends and family is undoubtedly a great stress buster. Spending some time with your loved group develops a sense of belonging and self-worth, helpful during tough times.
According to scientific research, women who spend time with family and friends during the stress period benefit from producing the stress-relieving hormone oxytocin.
Home remedies for stress and depression
Release energy that is pent up inside you via any means necessary. You could go
for a jog or a run, go for a bike ride, go swimming, or even dance around to some high-energy music.
Anything that gets your heart racing and blood pumping to release pent-up energy should make you feel a buzz of good energy afterward and enable you to relax.
Some use meditation to reduce stress levels. Meditating can help you clear your
mind of the stress that builds there and gain perspective on the situations causing them stress.
Avoid Sugar and Processed Foods
What you eat has a significant impact on your mental and physical state. Food high in sugar and processed foods are the worst things for you when stressed.
They give you a quick buzz, but the comedown makes you feel far worse as they lead to the build-up of harmful toxins that increase stress levels.
Water is the best thing for stress as it will detox and hydrate your body, allowing your mind to function at its best and feel less stressed overall.
Celery contains phytonutrients that have sedative properties, so eating celery can be very
Eating cherries are known for many medicinal benefits; one of those is soothing the nervous system.
Lettuce also has soothing properties known as lactucarium, the sap coming from the celery stalks.
Rolled oats and oatmeal are also known for their calming effects so eating porridge is a great
home remedy for stress.
Pasta instigates the brain to release serotonin; our brains naturally produce the feel-good chemical. Eating pasta for dinner will go a
long way to reducing stress levels.
Whole Wheat Bread
Very high in vitamin B, which is excellent for your nervous system. Try to
include B vitamin-rich foods in your diet. Brown rice, pasta, and whole-grain cereals are rich in vitamin B.
Herbal teas sweetened with honey are excellent relaxants and can help to relieve
stress. Among the best are Varian, catnip, chamomile, and tarragon. Have herbal tea in the evening before bed.
Monitoring breathing is a well-known stress reliever, as it allows oxygen to
circulate and get rid of any toxins in the lungs. Take slow and deep breaths, around ten per minute if you can. This should make you feel calm and revitalized.
uncooked will also help. Problem solving and resolution. The brain needs to be stimulated to be at its best, and when it is not, and when you don’t take regular breaks and take time to enjoy life, the stress builds up.
Aromatherapy is a great way to relax. Using essential oils such as jasmine and
lavender in a bath or as part of a message will trigger neuro-pathways in your mind to
change your body’s chemistry and encourage you to feel peace and joy. And the smell isn’t so bad either.
Being surrounded externally by clutter will hurt the mind, such as in your workspace or home. Clear and organized personal and workspace leads to a clear and organized, stress-free mind.
Plants are a soothing and relaxing addition to the home and workplace. Many offices
have plants as they increase the oxygen levels in the room and naturally promote calmness and stress reduction through their living vibrations.
A fountain or water feature of some form is soothing, as the sound of the running
water is calming to our subconscious. You can even purchase machines that imitate the sound of running water if you don’t want to install an actual water feature.
Taking a long and relaxing hot bath helps clear the senses and relax the muscles and
mind. The use of essential oils, as mentioned, or some lovely smelling bath salts and soaps aid in the relaxation of the mind and leave you smelling great afterward.
Holiday In Mountains:
There can be nothing more satisfying than connecting with nature, counting on the little joys like peacefully watching a pretty sunset or feeling the gentle touch of fresh wind with drizzle that you were missing out on in your running city life. Count on the simplicity of mountains for detoxifying your mind with its untouched purity.
Go For Daily Morning Walk:
Starting your day with a lot of stress already circulating in your system will overload your brain till the moment of the crackdown. So, why not start your day with a peaceful and silent morning walk, inhaling fresh and cool morning air, and soaking in the first rays of the sun to energize your body and mind?
Stop Eating Junk:
Junk food toxifies the body, which affects its metabolic rate. Lower metabolism cuts down your mind and body’s energy per day, making you sluggish. Also, it leads to digestive troubles like constipation, which irritate further. Go for fresh fruits and delicious salads instead.
Meditate For Deep Sleep:
Already depressed mind needs relaxation. And deep sleep will sure give the reason a boost of peace that will calm down your irritation, boosting your mood. But stress cuts down on sleep and piles up fury. This is why meditation works as a natural sedative by secreting happiness hormones.
Reading books takes you down the adventure alleys that cut your mind off from daily stress. When made a ritual, this happiness therapy sets your body clock to have a little leisure time and uplift your mood. Try reading hard-core comedy books to budding your mind with happiness.
Take Aromatic Bubble Bath:
The body demands de-stressing to uplift your mood. Getting lost in a fragrant aromatic bubble bath can calm your overworked nerves. Use scented candles to light up the bathroom to enjoy a peaceful night ahead. It is for this reason that aromatic spa massaging uplifts mood too well.
Wear the colors you love, listen to the music you like, and most importantly, cash out on some of the money you have been earning under a lot of stress for leisure shopping. Meet your old friends from school and college, and stay at a bay from pessimist people.
Relax At Home:
The only way to do this is to leave work at the office. Not just in papers but also mentally. Tame your body to differentiate between work hours and relaxing hours. It will also help you in managing work better.
Drink Herbal Tea:
Sounds funny? Well, it isn’t. Habitually starting your day with a cup of herbal tea infuses your body with calming and cleansing antioxidants. And most of these antioxidants control hormonal secretion as well. This is why herbal teas are edible mood uplifters.
Incorporate each of these habits in your life, and you will see yourself living better and happier than before.
Taking a day off from work might not boost your dropping mood. It will demand much more beyond a lazy day in bed for you to detoxify your mind and spirit and befriend life with a new smile and enthusiasm once again.
Research Papar’s on stress and depression
- The impact of stress on body function: A review – NCBI
- The Effect of Music on the Human Stress Response – PMC
- Stress effects on the body – American Psychological Association
- Stress Research – The American Institute of Stress
- Understanding the stress response – Harvard Health