Your Body & The Effects of Stress
Numerous studies have shown that stress will have a big effect on your health, both mentally and physically. According to an article written by Cleveland Clinic, stress can cause headaches, aches and pains and weaken your immune system (Cleveland Clinic, 2022). Stress can make you feel anxious or sad and has the capacity to drain your energy and make you feel less productive. If you do not deal with your stress, it could lead to health issues down the line such as heart problems relating to blood pressure or fertility problems (Health Direct, 2021). Here are the effects of physical and emotional stress on the body and mind.
Stress is a burgeoning problem around the world, affecting not only an individual's health and well-being, but also people around you. Stress occurs when the various demands of life exceed a person's ability to cope. According to an article published by Victoria Health (2012), work-related stress is said to be the second most widespread illness/injury in Australia, followed by musculoskeletal disorders.
What effects does stress have on the body?
Stress is a common and normal response which affects us both physically and mentally when faced with challenges (Health Line, 2021). Here are some examples:
- Physical Aches & Pains
- Pain in the muscles and joints
- Palpitations of the heart increases
- Feelings of exhaustion and weariness
- Gastrointestinal issues such as heartburn, upset stomach, diarrhea, and nausea
- Sleep apnea
- Feeling like there is no hope
- Easily frustrated by life
- Exasperated but do not know why
- Getting mad over insignificant things
- Not knowing why, you suddenly get sad
- Anxiety or the feeling of being worried
- Not enough drive or motivation
Stressors, in the right amount, can help us to adapt mentally and physically to our circumstances, prompting us to grow stronger and more resilient. Monitoring your symptoms and noting anything unusual will assist you in determining what causes your stress.
With stress, the consequences of physical or emotional abuse and neglect are obvious, but there are also other indirect consequences, such as persistent dispute in the household, workplace problems, a parent struggling with substance abuse, poor parenting, or serious illness. The appearance is that the stress caused by these types of events may not be harmful to human health, but it can be.
It takes practise to learn how to manage your stress, but you can – and must – do it. Here are some suggestions to help.
An article published by Queensland Health (2019) highlights various recommendations to help reduce stress and positively impact your overall wellbeing.
Exercise. Working out on a consistent basis is one of the most effective ways to relax your body and mind. Exercise will also elevate your mood. However, frequency is the key for it to be effective. You can do activities such as nature walks, swimming laps, jogging, yoga or participating in sports. Set fitness goals that you can achieve so that you are more motivated to stick to it. Most importantly, remember that any amount of movement is better than none.
Go green. Create a welcoming and healthy environment as much as possible – embrace green with a green wall and hanging plants. According to NBC News, studies have shown that houseplants improve concentration and productivity, reduce stress levels and boost your mood (NBC News, 2017)
Deep breathing. Deep breathing is an excellent way to reduce sympathetic nervous system activation, which governs the body's response to a perceived threat. Deep breaths taken in for five seconds, held for two seconds, and released for five seconds can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which can help reduce overall stress and anxiety (CBC, 2018).
Mindful & Healthy Eating. Mindful eating contributes positively to your wellbeing in a number of ways. According to NHS Inform, eating a consistent and well-balanced diet rich in vitamins will improve your energy levels to keep you active throughout the day and provide the nutrients essential for bodily growth and repair (NHS Inform, 2020).
Regulate your time on social media. Investing hours on social media can be stressful, not only because of what we see there, but also because the time you spend on social media could be better spent visiting with friends, being outside and enjoying the weather, or reading an enjoyable book.
Connect with others. People are social beings. To feel supported, you must make connections with others. Finding a sense of connection — whether at work, with a religious organisation, or through collaborative interests like organized sports — is absolutely essential to your overall well-being. Participating in a shared activity makes it possible to find support and cultivate relationships that
can be helpful during challenging times.
Take it slow. Because modern life can be stressful, sometimes all we need to do is take it easy. Look for little ways to practise this throughout your life. As an example: Set your watch for five to ten minutes ahead of time. You will not feel rushed and will arrive a little earlier. Another tip is to break up big projects into smaller ones. For instance, if it is not necessary, only reply to a few of your important emails rather than trying to answer them all.
Take a break. To truly decompress and give your mind a break from stress, you must schedule some downtime. If you enjoy setting objectives, and like to be on the go, you might find this difficult at first. But if you persevere, you will come to relish these opportunities. You can relax by doing things like: Meditation or Yoga, praying, playing, and listening to your preferred music and spending time in nature.
Acknowledge Your Challenges. Talking about the things that are stressing you out can help you feel better. You can consult someone you trust such as your doctor, a therapist, a spiritual counsellor, family members, or friends. You can even converse with yourself as well. Self-talk is something we all engage in. But in order for self-talk to aid in stress reduction, it must be positive and empowering rather than negative and disenfranchising. So, pay great attention to your thoughts and words when you are under stress. Change the
negative message you are sending yourself to a positive one. Do not tell yourself, "I can't do this," for instance. Statements like "I can do this" or "I'm doing the best I can" would be preferable.
Be kind to yourself. Regardless of how hard you try, realise that you cannot accomplish everything flawlessly. Additionally, you can not have complete control over all things in your life. Being kind to yourself also means that you should not forget you can accomplish so much for yourself. Do not forget to maintain your sense of humour as well. You can feel a lot more at ease while you are laughing.
Moving beyond your triggers. Determine what the main sources of your stress are. Does it have to do with your job, commute, or schoolwork? Try to identify what they are and find solutions that can help you move forward beyond them, or at least significantly lessen them. Should you seek assistance to manage your stress?
When the same symptoms keep coming back, it is wise to seek an expert opinion. If you feel stress, depression, or anxiety for longer than you think is normal, it is important to always get an evaluation of your physical and mental health. It is particularly important for your health to learn new ways to deal with stress.
It is particularly important for your health to learn new ways to deal with stress - that’s why to investing in technologies that are supported by science that provide a practical toolbox for empowered living can be beneficial. Using tools such as the Empowerment Series which incorporate a range of different strategies like meditation. Afterall a healthy and empowered body is a life-long investment. Innovative andprogressive leaders will investigate leading tools such as our Empowerment Series which consists of over 60+ empowerment practices using meditation, mindfulness, positive psychology, subliminal strategies and more. Get started on your wellness path today or try our mini series, completely FREE at iswara.life
Stress: Signs & Symptoms (https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11874-stress)
Why indoor plants make you feel better (https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/indoor-plants-can-instantly-boost-your-health-happiness-ncna781806) From fight or flight to rest and digest: How to reset your nervous system with breath (https://www.cbc.ca/life/wellness/from-fight-or-flight-to-rest-and-digest-how-to-reset-your-nervous-system-with-the-breath-1.4485695#:~:text=Breathing%20deeply%2C%20with%20a%20slow,heartbeat%20and%20shallow%20chest%20breathing.)