Think Stress Only Affects Your Mind? Think Again.

It’s can be hard to go through a single day without some stressor having an effect on our lives. From work, to children, to families to… getting the washing done, there is always something that is gnawing at our mental energy.

According to the Australia Institute of Health and Wellbeing’s report in July 2020, about 2 in 3 (63%) Australians aged 15 and over reported experiencing at least 1 personal stressor in the previous 12 months.

The effects of stress can come in many shapes and forms, in face long term stress can affect almost every part of our body. Let’s take a lot at some of the most comment side effects.

Your heart

When we are stressed, your body can release larger amounts of adrenaline causing an increased heart rate and blood pressure. Sometimes this can feel like your heart will pump out of your chest or even feel like a full-on heart attack (check out Broken Heart Syndome!)

Your skin

With your skin being the largest organ of the body, it is inevitable that stress will have an impact, but we bet you didn’t know the extent of that impact!

When you get stressed, it is not unusual to experience a change in your skin’s natural state as you release a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol can increase the oil found in your skin causing a break out of spots.

Studies have also shown that a number of conditions aren't necessarily caused by stress but can be made worse by it. That list includes acne, psoriasis, rosacea, alopecia, and eczema, too.

Your belly

Do you experience that uncomfortable feeling in your belly? Or perhaps your bowels become very sensitive? That is what stress can do!

There is a strong connection between stress and your gut (digestive system) that can cause pain, gas, diarrhoea and constipation to more complex conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and acid reflux (GERD).

Sometimes those who are very stressed can even vomit!

Your immune system

We all know that feeling of being severely run down? Well, that can cause our body to weaken.

As stress grows, it can slowly erode out immune system and make us more susceptible to coughs and colds.

Our muscles

Stress can lead us to involuntarily tighten the muscles throughout our body, and keeping our body in that constant tight state will lead to more physical aches and pains.

This tightness can cause multiple issues from our shoulders up, meaning we can experience more headaches, knots in our neck and shoulders and even TMJ (which is an issue that involves us locking our jaw).

Your sleep

When we are stressed or have a mind full of worries, we can struggle to fall asleep, and when we do, it’s definitely not a restful sleep. Lacking sleep can be a vicious cycle that can cause more stress. Lack of sleep = tiredness = stress = less restful sleep = ongoing issues.

One 2019 study found that just one sleepless night could lead to a 30% increase in stress levels, while a 2015 study that tracked middle-aged women over a nine-year period found that those who reported the highest levels of stress had lower quality sleep and were more likely to report having insomnia.

We always hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the science is clear, stress is not only damaging to your mind but over the long run it can also have lasting effects on our body. We hope this has given you food for thought a chance to think of some stress reducing strategies to manage your health.

If you are struggling to get this under control, get in touch with us today and let’s work on those strategies together.

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