Your Stress Could Be Killing You
Stress Can Negatively Affect Your Health
When the mind feels stress, it affects everything in your body. Your muscles and your nervous system are two of the most affected areas. Also strongly affected by stress are your hormones.
Oftentimes, our minds make mountains out of mole hills and things that were not really super stressful become magnified by our imaginations. Panic attacks are usually triggered by this type of over-exaggeration of stress in our minds.
What Causes Stress?
It is believed that the mind is often bored and in order to keep itself busy, it creates problems for itself to solve. Whether we are focused on it or not, our minds stay busy working out problems that often are not real problems – and for some people, this can escalate into high levels of stress and mental fatigue.
Many people do not realize that their stress levels actually cause a change to take place in the brain which affects our overall brain chemistry. The field of study that looks into these changes is known as psychoneuroimmunology.
When we are consistently overstimulated with stress, it results in our bodies producing too many stress hormones like cortisol, noradrenaline, and adrenaline. Also the levels of serotonin and beta-endorphins are negatively affected, meaning that we have much less of them when we are stressed.
Stress Can Cause Depression
When you don’t have enough serotonin, you feel down or depressed. Likewise, beta-endorphins are what give us self-esteem and without enough of them, we begin to doubt ourselves. When both serotonin and beta-endorphins are low, we tend to avoid people and places where we might run into people. We just want to stay in our homes and avoid the world altogether.
When stress levels are high for long periods of time and our serotonin and beta-endorphins are low, we begin to show personality changes. We also experience depression. When we think of depression, we often think of it as a state that exists in and of itself. Not many people link the existence of stress to the cause of depression.
Stress Can Cause Inflammation
How else can stress affect your body? Through inflammation. When stressful thoughts are allowed to continue in your mind, your cortisol levels are kept artificially high. Cortisol is a fight or flight response hormone and our bodies are not supposed to experience it for long periods of time.
If you were being chased by a mountain lion, cortisol will give you the strength to hopefully outrun or fight the mountain lion. In every day situations, though, high levels of cortisol cause very high levels of inflammation.
Stress Can Cause Heart Disease and Diabetes
This same inflammation can lead to heart disease and diabetes. High cortisol levels also drive us to eat – especially carbohydrates and fat. We find ourselves craving carbs and fats even though we may be full. Not only does this increase our daily consumption of calories, but these specific foods then serve to inhibit our fat metabolism.
Diet is not always the sole cause of weight gain and the development of unhealthy conditions of the body. In cases like these, we need to first look to reducing our levels of mental stress and anxiety in order to get our bodies healthy.
So, can stress affect your body?
Yes. Stress is a silent killer. Do whatever you must to reduce your stress levels today. Yoga and meditation are great ways to reduce stress. You won’t believe what a relief it is to be out from under all of the stress. You will feel like a new person – one with a new lease on life.