The effects of stress and its impact on your health
Stress is a response to a perceived threat or danger. Threats activate our response to stress, including factors like work, finances, and relationships. Stress can be temporary or can continue in the long term and thus affect hormones, mood, diseases, and all aspects of your health and well-being. can stress make you sick
Stress can have a big effect on your health in both physical and emotional ways. Take into account the following effects derived from stress:
- Colds, flu, viruses, and other diseases
- Depression and anxiety
- problems or heart attacks
- Insomnia or interrupted sleep
- Irritability and anger
- Stomach and gastrointestinal problems
- use of substances
- Concentration problems
What are the effects of stress on the immune system?
Over time, the effects of stress can accumulate in the brain and in the body. This kind of long-term, or chronic, stress can weaken the immune system and put you at risk for different diseases, from simple colds to more serious illnesses. can stress make you sick
When you feel stressed, your body produces a hormone called cortisol, which enters the bloodstream. For short periods, cortisol can help regulate many of the body’s natural functions, including sleep, weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar level. 2 However, when you have long-term stress, cortisol levels remain high. This can lead to inflammation and a lower white blood cell count, two problems that can weaken the immune system.
What are some of the causes of stress?
Practically everything can cause stress, depending on the situation and your ability to handle it. But these are some of the most common factors that generate stress:
- Employment and the workplace: Deadlines, demanding bosses, complicated colleagues, office policies, even harassment and discrimination in the workplace—all this can keep you awake at night, worried, and afraid. Your job is an important part of your daily life. When things are not right, stress at work can increase. On the other hand, if you are unemployed, stressors can be linked to loss of income and basic needs, such as food and housing.
- Money and finances: looming bills, credit card debt, debt collectors, identity theft and fraud, even checking the balance of your savings account—all this can cause stress. For most people, money is a necessity. Some people have difficulty making ends meet, and others are unemployed or underemployed. Concerns may arise about how to buy food, pay the electricity bill, pay the doctor’s bill, and pay the rent or mortgage. The effects of stress can make survival even more difficult.
- Disasters and traumas: Natural or man-made disasters and traumatic events can have great impacts on a person’s life. Tornadoes, forest fires, hurricanes, and floods can cause the loss of lives, homes, and communities. This kind of stress can be overwhelming. The stress of traumatic events, such as being the victim of an attack or being involved in a serious accident, can also generate stress and deep and lasting health problems.
- Relationships and family: Children, divorce, separation, loneliness, and even the responsibility to take care of a family can generate stress. Stress plays an important role in health and well-being for people who must cope with the death of a loved one, face illness, or act as caregivers for a sick or elderly family member.
Is stress bad for your health?
Some forms of short-term stress can be beneficial. For example, there may be a project at work that you have postponed for weeks and that you must now deliver. The pressure you suddenly feel to deliver that project is stress. This type of stress is short-lived. It can increase your energy, concentration, and adrenaline levels, so you can deliver on time. Some people who work well under pressure understand how to make the most of this type of stress in the short term.
Consider the temporary and sudden stress of a car accident that you have just avoided: your heart beats hard and your hands tremble. The increase in adrenaline allowed you to think and act in a fraction of a second. You were able to get away from a situation that could have hurt you because you had the instinct to fight or run away. can stress make you sick
So, not all types of stress are bad, but it is important to understand the difference.
Tips to manage the impact of stress on your health
When it can be managed, it is possible to reduce the impact of stress on health. Try these tips when you feel stressed:
- Identify stressors: Recognize feelings of stress. What is bothering you? Is it work, money, a relationship, or something else? When you know this, you can start managing stress in a healthy way.
- Talk to a therapist or counselor. Tell them what’s going on and how you feel. They can help identify the cause of stress and offer useful advice on how to handle it. If you have a plan through your employer, they could offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Generally, EAPs offer confidential access at no cost to a counselor or therapist as part of the employment benefits.
- Exercise and living a more active life: One of the best and easiest ways to deal with stress is to be more active.Walking, cycling, running, gardening, practicing yoga, or lifting weights can change your approach and the hormones in your brain. Exercise creates endorphins, which are hormones that make you feel better and happier. When you feel happier, you can keep your stress under control. Daily exercise and movement are essential to counteract the effects of stress.
- Meditate: Meditation can lower blood pressure and decrease anxiety and tension. 4 If you feel stressed, you can try a meditation or full-awareness technique to help manage it.
- Participate in fun activities: Find a hobby or an opportunity to volunteer. When you participate in an activity that you enjoy, you stop focusing on stress and dedicate yourself to something else.
The effects of stress can cause physical and emotional health problems. If you are facing stress problems, there are many ways to handle them. You can also talk to your doctor or a therapist about stress and health problems. can stress make you sick