What are effects of stress on the body?
2015 is the year of a hectic work schedule, a busy family life, as well as a crammed social life and intense fitness regime. So is it any surprise that more and more of us are suffering from symptoms of stress?
Our body’s get stressed out when it senses a threat. Stress is indeed defined as a short-term condition only that tells us to get out of a situation.
The problem is that far too many of us ignore our body’s warning signals and continue doing the things that are creating stress. This leads to chronic, long-term stress. And this comes with some astonishing effects. Let’s take a look at some effects of stress on the body.
1. Stress Can Damage Your Memory
Our memory is something we rely on for lots of things, from fulfilling simple everyday tasks to finding our car keys. But stress can put a huge strain on your memory, and the more stressed you get, the more damaging it can be for your mental performance.
Essentially, stress can “cloud” your memory, so that even remembering the simple things – such as how to make a cup of coffee – can suddenly become scarily difficult. So if you want to keep all your marbles in tact, it’s time to start de-stressing!
2. Stress Can Keep You Awake At Night
Not getting your usual 4 hours sleep at night? Aww, gee. That is too bad.
When we stress over work issues, we’re probably not getting enough sleep in the first place. We’re hitting the sack at 1am and rising at 6am.
But because we’re stressed, we’re barely even sleeping during that period of time. One of bad effects of stress on the body is that stress accelerates insomnia, makes it worse, and it can even trigger depression which further keeps you tossing and turning at night.
One way to alleviate this is to start going to bed early, and to switch off your laptop at least an hour before bed.
3. Stress Can Lead To Hair Loss
Hair loss is a scary thing indeed. Nobody likes to lose their hair, as it can be damaging for our confidence. Yet one of the astonishing side effects of stress on the body is that it can indeed cause people to lose their hair. It quite literally “tears your hair out.”
The problem is that stress doesn’t trigger hair loss immediately; instead, you might notice your hair falling out a staggering three months after. This is because the hair’s growing phasing is transformed into its resting phase, which results in thinning hair. Once you have resolved your stress, though, your hair goes back to normal.
4. Stress Can Cause Headaches
Headaches are really annoying and are one of very common side effects of stress on the body. They stop us from walking with as much focus as we’d like, and they can ruin our day. They gnaw away at us all day long, leading us to distraction.
One of the causes of a headache is stress. This is because stress causes your muscles to tense up, usually in a bid to protect you from injury. But what happens is that tense muscles cause headaches!
5. Stress Can Lead To Heavier Periods
The good news for men is that stress can actually increase their desire. It works by producing more of the male hormone testosterone whenever a man is under stress. The bad news for women is that it can have a negative effect on the menstrual cycle.
Stress can lead to either anomalous menstruation or no menstruation at all. It can even cause heavier and more painful periods. Moreover, if you’re currently suffering from the menopause, stress can emphasise the symptoms, making you feel a whole lot worse.
6. Stress Can Make Your Asthma Worse
Another one of unpleasant effects of stress on the body is that stress can make asthma worse. If you suffer from asthma, you’ll know that life can be thoroughly miserable in lieu of an attack. Asthma, although definitely annoying, is something people can live with, but it’s definitely something they would rather didn’t get worse. Stress, unfortunately, has the power to exacerbate asthma, making it worse and potentially increasing the possibility of an attack.
Worse still, any parents who are severely stressed run the risk of giving birth to children with asthma. The good news at least is that stress can be eradicated by making a few minor adjustments to your lifestyle, such as taking more walks, and taking some time off work.
7. Stress Can Cause Weight Gain
This is another one of common effects of stress on the body. America in particular is in the grip of an obesity epidemic, and it’s one that is only continuing to get worse, rather than better. It’s also little surprise to find that Americans are some of the most stressed folk on the planet. And stress, as much as overeating, can lead to chronic weight gain.
This is because stressed people tend to store all their excess fat in their bellies – rather than evenly distributing it around the body. And studies have shown that it is belly fat, rather than fat on our legs and hips, that poses the greater health risks. Stress accelerates the production of cortisol, a hormone that causes our body to tuck fat away in our belly. Not cool.
8. Stress Can Shrink Your Brain
Out of all the health problems caused by stress that we’ve looked at so far, none probably sound quite as scary as brain shrinkage.
You could probably deal with a slightly shrunken thumb, for example, or even a shrunken toe. But a shrunken brain? That sounds horrendous!
One of bad effects of stress on the body is that stress reduces grey matter in our brain, which essentially causes our brain to shrink. This grey matter is linked to our emotional functions, which means that more stress could turn you into an impersonal robot (kinda).
9. Stress Can Damage Your Teeth
Stress doesn’t exactly cause all your teeth to fall out at once, but when we are stressed we tend to grind or teeth more often – especially during sleep. This can cause general wear and tear, and it can also lead to jaw and neck pain. Scary.
10. Stress Can Even Cause Early Death
We’re all aware of some of the world’s biggest killers: cancer, heart disease and stroke. But few of us would even dream to consider that stress can cause premature death.
Studies carried out at the University of Edinburgh and University College London found that even a tiny amount of stress and anxiety can cause premature death. This is an alarming find, but it should act as a warning to anyone who is overdoing things to slow down.
It’s just not worth getting stressed and anxious. Not only can it lead to a whole host of health problems, but it can also shorten your life expectancy.
Do you know other effects of stress on the body?
Stay happy and healthy!