7 Ways Stress Can Negatively Impact Your Health

healthy stress 2Are you allowing your stress to turn into distress? Do you find that you constantly feel stressed?  Stress is something we all encounter on a regular basis, but when it starts to have a negative effect on your body and mind, it means you are distressed.  As someone who felt the life-threatening impact of stress, I know this all too well. I am thankful to now be in control of my stress levels and most of my stress these days is healthy stress.

However, many people don’t realize that stress is a state of being that negatively impacts the body. In fact, stress has a bigger impact on our bodies than most of us know or care to acknowledge.

Surprising Facts About Stress and Your Body

There are some really scary facts about the toll that stress takes on the body.  When you look at these facts, it’s hard to deny that we all need to learn how to manage our stress more effectively.  Some of these facts include:

  • 43% of all adults have health problems related to stress
  • 75-90% of all doctor visits are stress-related
  • 82% of workers are at least a little stressed in the workplace
  • Stress is known to cost American businesses more than $300 billion each year

Seven Ways In Which Your Body is Affected By Stress

There are two kinds of stress. The “good” stress is called eustress, but we generally only hear about the “bad” stress known as chronic stress or distress.

Chronic stress gradually affects your health at first; in fact, you may not even notice the symptoms at all! And if the stress is not managed, the symptoms will get worse and its effects may even be irreversible.

Seven ways in which stress may manifest itself in your body are:

  1. Depression.  Stress can very easily lead to depression.  There are only so many chemicals in the brain to help a person deal with stress, and when they are used up, they’re used up.  This can lead to a person becoming profoundly depressed in what seems like a relatively short period of time.
  1. Anxiety.  Those who are stressed are likely to deal with uncontrollable levels of anxiety.  Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand, and this can cause many different changes in the physiological functioning of the body.
  1. Heart disease.  Stress is very closely linked to heart attacks, strokes and death associated with cardiovascular disease.  When stress is not managed, the body breaks down quickly and the heart is often profoundly impacted.
  1. Diabetes.  Type 2 diabetes is one of the fastest growing epidemics in the world and both mental and physical stress can cause extreme fluctuations in blood sugar levels. The long-term effects associated with this include heart disease, blindness, liver problems, kidney disease, and more.
  1. Hair loss.  We often tease our friends and family when they begin to lose hair, but this can be a symptom of stress that has not been managed.  If your hair is falling out prematurely, it may not be genetics, look closely at how you are dealing with the stress in your life and see if there are things you can do to control it more effectively.
  1. Obesity. We often cope with stress by consuming unhealthy, fattening foods.  Plus, stress prohibits the control of necessary chemicals that are needed to break down fat, which can lead to obesity.
  1. Sexual dysfunction.  Stress is one of the most common reasons associated with impotence in men.

As you can see, stress can affect your health in many ways. This is by no means an all-inclusive list of how stress affects your body and health.  There are also things like  hyperthyroidism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, tooth and gum disease, ulcers, and even cancer. Stress is serious stuff! This is all the more reason to start actively managing your stress today.

What are some things you do to manage the stress in your life?

healthy stress

One Response to 7 Ways Stress Can Negatively Impact Your Health
  1. Leah
    June 8, 2013 | 12:25 pm

    I love the way you broke this down into a simple explanation of the many ways stress affects our health. My favorite ways to prevent these effects are exercise and diet. I wrote a book you may be interested in, ‘Eat to Beat Stress: 10 Super Foods to Prevent Major Symptoms of Stress’ I hope other readers find this helpful! I’m looking forward to seeing others’ ideas for beating stress too- you can never have too many strategies on hand! Thank you for posting this! – Leah
    Here’s the link to my book if you’d like to check it out: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00AS074VA/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1370694234&sr=8-1&pi=SL75

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