Living without stress is an impossible mission. However, the modern man/woman experiences stress on a daily basis a lot more, even though some of the activities we do with the intention to relax. Take your smartphone, for example. Let’s say you are waiting for a bus and all is well, you are relatively relaxed. The majority of people that own smartphones use opportunities like these to entertain themselves by scrolling on social media. But this habit opens up the opportunity for just about anything to invade your mind, which was previously relatively still.
Today, we are bombarded by so much information on a daily basis and a good chunk of it isn’t meant to make you feel good, but to worry you and if you add to that watching the news and your own worries about your own life and your close ones – it all adds up tremendously. This turns the modern man/woman into an embodiment of anxiety. No wonder why there’s so much interest in yoga and meditation nowadays. Regardless of whether you are actively trying to find out how does stress affect the body and health or you are simply experiencing that, there’s no doubt that anyone can make the connection between being physically ill and being under pressure.
That being said, here are some of the most common things that can occur if a person doesn’t live a more balanced life that helps him/her to reduce the amount of stress.
Stress Hinders the Work of the Immune System
When we feel worried or under pressure, most of our energy goes to repairing the small damages this causes, like taking short breaths, losing energy or suppressing anger which can affect the vital organs such as the heart. In such situations, the human body is already dealing with an abnormal situation, so if something else attacks the body externally, there are less soldiers to fight the good fight. This is how we can get more susceptible from minor thing like to common cold to bigger issues. When one feels good, on the other hand, not only can the immune system focus on protecting the body from potential threats, but the hormones of happiness produced in this state (dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins) make it so much easier for the immune system to do its job as they relax the body and put it in a state of harmony.
Stress Prevents You from Getting Proper Rest
Although sleep can help one diminish stress, if the person doesn’t take proper action while wake to deal with the issues, the busy subconscious mind will decide that it is during sleep when these issues are to be resolved. This may result in restless nights, many forms of sleep apnea and even insomnia. People that go through stressful periods in their life also tend to wake up frequently and have nightmares. This may cause more irritation which can cause more conflict which leads to more stress. It’s a vicious cycle that can be broken only if the sufferer changes something about the situations that cause this – the core cause of stress.
Stress Keeps Your Muscles Tight (In a Bad Way)
When we are under stress, the levels of the cortisol go up and that puts the body in a fight or flight mode. This means that you are, basically, ready to get into a physical fight even though you won’t – this is how the body naturally behaves when the mind is not relatively calm and collected. What this can cause, apart from muscle pain, headache and strain is poor blood circulation. Getting some air, taking a long walk or going to the spa and getting a massage can help deal with this externally, but as mentioned before, the most important piece of the puzzle is to identify and diminish the core causes of stress.
In conclusion, now that we covered how does stress affect the body and health, although it is impossible to live a worry-free life, trying to reorganize one’s lifestyle as to include as many relaxing moments as possible is paramount for good mental health, which in turn means having good physical health as well. These two are strongly connected and although an illness can occur without stress as a part of the problem, experiencing less stressful situations is always a plus.