The Toll That Stress Takes On Your Body

Everyone has dealt with some level of stress before, whether mild or severe, so it should be no surprise that it affects the body and mind in a number of negative ways.
Approaching deadlines and heavy workloads can have our minds in a whirlwind - driving us into feelings of irritability, anxiousness, and helplessness. Multitasking and situations of crisis can have some people experiencing migraines, while others have trouble achieving a healthy night's sleep due to their high stress levels. Some stress is normal, but prolonged stress can be detrimental to our well-being. Here's how to tell when your stress is getting out of hand, and what you can do about it to protect your health!

What Is Stress?

Stress is your body's natural response to a tricky situation. When you are confronted with a tough or challenging task, problem, or dilemma, your body begins to take certain action so that it is more readily equipped to reach a solution.

The Two Different Types of Stress

There are two different types of stress. The first is acute stress, which is also known as short-term stress. This type of stress is unexpected and sudden, triggering a "fight-or-flight" response from the brain.

The second type of stress is chronic, or long-term stress. This type of stress occurs steadily over an extended period of time. An example might be caring for a loved one who is terminally ill, or being unemployed. Because it is long-term and regular, this type of stress constantly prompts the body to release stress-hormones and chemicals, leading to a damaged and weakened immune system.

What Action Takes Place In The Body When We Are Stressed?

Once our body is faced with a conflict, adrenaline begins to be released, and a nerve signal is sent to the amygdala - the portion of the brain responsible for making decisions and regulating our emotions. The amygdala then sends a signal to the hypothalamus, which is responsible for hormone production. Once alarmed, the hypothalamus begins to produce certain stress hormones, such as cortisol, which enter the blood stream and make their way to other organs and tissues in the body.

Once cortisol reaches an organ, it binds to the organ's glucocorticoid receptor. This can do a number of things, from boosting blood sugar and blood pressure, to increasing your heartbeat and breathing. This causes an increase in the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the brain, encouraging sharper brain function that will allow you to more efficiently work out a solution to the problem you are facing.

What Other Parts Of The Body Are Directly Affected By Stress?

As we said before, everyone undergoes some amount of stress in their day-to-day life; However, regular stress can very easily and quickly turn into a serious health problem. Here are some of the ways high stress levels can impact the body and mind:

The Mood and Behavior

Excessive stress can alter the mood, causing some people to become irritable, anxious, short-tempered, or "on-edge". It can also lead to insomnia, headaches, overeating, substance abuse, loss of sexual desire, and even social isolation if the person does not seek proper help.

The Heart

The hormones that are released when we are stressed can pose a threat to our heart if we are regularly stressed out. Because they specifically stimulate our cardiovascular and respiratory systems, they have the ability to over-work these organs, making us vulnerable to a stroke or heart attack.

Sugar Overload

Our livers produce extra amounts of glucose when we are stressed in order to provide us with a kick of energy. If we do not use all of this sugar, it is reabsorbed by the body. Excessive stress can lead to the development of problems like type 2 diabetes, because the body cannot keep up with the sugar that is being produced as a result of it. Excess sugar can also disrupt normal digestion, leading to heartburn, acid re-flux, vomiting, or nausea.

Muscle Health

Have you ever noticed how your muscles tense up when you are alarmed or stressed? Our muscles contract as a defense mechanism so that they can protect themselves from any possible injuries. While this is a good thing, too much of it can become an issue. If you experience high, regular levels of stress, your muscles never get time to relax. This can lead to pain in the back, neck, shoulders, and temples. While practicing regular exercise can help to relieve this, many people instead turn to prescription pain medications, opening up a potentially scary can of worms. So what's the best thing you can do if your stress begins to cause bodily aches and pains? Relax, unwind, and set time aside each day to breathe and stretch.

Physical Appearance

In some cases, high stress levels can start to take a toll on a person's appearance. Hair loss, weight loss or gain, breakouts, hives, graying hair, fine lines, and bags under the eyes from lack of adequate sleep are just a few of the most common ways that stress can keep you from looking your best.

What To Do If You Are Feeling Stressed Out

The best and most effective way to combat stress is to try and relax. This might mean removing yourself from whatever situation is stressing you out, or putting it on hold until you are more mentally and physically prepared to deal with it.

It's important to get enough sleep, eat healthy, well-balanced meals, and make sure that you exercise regularly. Practicing yoga - which combines calming breathing techniques and stretching - is a great step towards a stress-free life.

Supplement Your Day With Moringa Source's Ashwagandha:

Because it contains substances known as adaptogens - which control your response to both external and internal stressors - our Ashwagandha can help the body cope with stressful environmental factors and toxins, as well as internal problems like anxiety and insomnia. Adaptogens are what give Ashwagandha the ability to reduce stress, fatigue, lack of energy, and difficulty concentrating.

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