It comes as no surprise that stress is regarded as the main disease of the 21st century. Due to the fast pace of everyday life, the pressure that comes from every direction possible – work, home, college, school, etc., more and more people of all ages suffer from stress and diseases associated with it.
By this I do not only refer to ones mental and emotional well-being. Namely, excessive amounts of stress lead to as many different diseases as you can think of, and day after day, doctors add more stress-related health conditions to the already long list.
This is why it is of paramount importance to learn how to reduce the damages stress is causing to your body on a daily basis.
When you are feeling stressed, you may actively feel the negative effects of prolonging this condition on your mental well-being, however what you may not feel is the damage being caused to your body as well. Here are some of the most common illnesses associated with stress:
It is a well known fact that sudden emotional stress can cause serious heart problems, including heart attacks. Stress can directly influence your heart rate and blood flow and it releases cholesterol and triglycerides into the blood stream.
For this reason, it is essential that people with chronic heart problems avoid acute stress. Moreover, they need to learn to successfully deal with unavoidable, stressful situations as much as they can; even though this is easier said than done.
Breathing exercise can do a lot for reducing sudden onsets of stress, as can other techniques. Make sure you never allow the stress and the anxiety to take over: you are in control of both your body and your mind, and you should try and remain calm in all situations.
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Another health condition related to stress is obesity, which can indirectly increase the likelihood of heart problems we’ve mentioned above. This happens because, in highly stressful situations, we seem to store fat in the belly.
Cortisol is the hormone responsible for this. Many people also tend to overeat in stressful situations, and the food they crave is never a piece of fruit, but pre-processed foods that are high in sugar and calories, and that will ultimately only lead to weight gain.
Gaining weight again leads to stress, which in turn leads to eating even more, and thus the viscous cycle continues. Make sure you exercise and eat right on a daily basis: it will both make you feel better, and will lead to less stress in your life.
There are two ways in which stress can worsen diabetes. On one hand, it increases the likelihood of bad behaviors, such as excessive drinking and unhealthy eating.
On the other, it seems that stress directly increases the levels of glucose in the cases of type 2 diabetes. Just like in the cases mentioned above, try to control both your stress levels and your diet, which is especially important for diabetics. Don’t let either stress or your disease control your life.
Depression and Anxiety
It’s only logical that chronic stress is connected with higher rates of depression and anxiety. A recent survey showed that people who get stressed at their jobs have an 80% higher risk of developing depression than those dealing with lower levels of stress.
There are many more health problems related to stress, such as Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, accelerated aging and premature death.
However, there is still some good news – if you follow some simple stress relief tips, you could lower your stress and thus decrease health risks, as well.
So, next time you feel stressed out, remember to try to take a deep breath and relax your muscles, focus on the moment and do not worry about what you will do next, do not regret what you’ve done already; instead of thinking about what went wrong, you need to remind yourself of all the moments in which you were lucky.
Another way to decrease stress is to escape to health resorts where you can refill your energy levels, relax both your mind and body and get back to seeing the positive side of things. There is also an escape into the world of books.
You can go to the gym and get rid of all the negative energy there or you can restore your peace with meditation or yoga; just do whatever makes you feel good. As you have seen, stress is not just a feeling.
When you get stressed out, your body responds – your blood vessels get constricted, your blood pressure rises and your pulse quickens, you start to breathe faster and hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline flood your bloodstream.
So, make no more excuses, but find time for yourself. Your body and mind will thank you for it.