The Effects of Stress on Your Health

Posted by Hilary Young on August 30, 2013

The Effects of Stress on Your Health

For many years, stress helped to keep humans alive. Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, which triggers the “fight or flight” response. This came in handy years ago when animals and predators were threatening our very existence. While that’s not typically the case anymore, our bodies still react to modern stressors. Experiencing chronic stress can take it’s toll on both your mind and body over time.

According to a study done by the University of Maryland Medical Center most Americans report feeling moderate-to-high stress levels and 44% of adults report that their stress level has increased in the past 5 years.

We’ve all felt the effects of stress--at work, at home, in traffic--but do you know what long-term effects stress can have on your body?

HEART

  • High blood pressure

  • Increased heart rate

  • Abnormal heartbeat

  • Blood clots

  • Hardening of the arteries

  • Risk of heart attack or stroke

HEAD AND NECK

  • Tension or pain in shoulders and neck

  • Headaches

METABOLISM/STOMACH

  • Weight gain

  • Diabetes

  • Slowing of digestion

  • Peptic ulcers

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

MENTAL

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Irritability

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Memory and concentration impairment

As you can see, there are serious side effects that extreme or prolonged stress can have on your body. To minimize the stress in your life you can try the following:

Scented Candles. Scents like lavender, coconut, apple, and chamomile are proven to have a calming effect on the brain. Stock up on candles in your favorite scent and within moments, your house can be transformed into a tranquil oasis.

New Paint. Studies have shown that colors can have a big impact on your mood. If you’re interested in inspiring a more peaceful home environment, you might want to consider repainting your walls in light to medium shades of green, blue, yellow, or lavender.

Yoga and Meditation. The practice of yoga is intended to help open up the body and quiet the mind. As a practice that is also easy to do in your own home, yoga and meditation are great ways to relax or unwind after a long day. If you need something a little more advanced, consider having regular massages or going to talk to a therapist. Stress can manifest itself both mentally and physically, and often times they become so intertwined it’s hard to get to the root of the problem.


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