Dealing with some stress now and then is a fact of life. However, if you’re always stressed, there could be major impacts on your health.
Modern life is stressful, with Americans working longer than ever while juggling other responsibilities. Even worrying about losing your job constantly can trigger a stress response. While there are short-term symptoms including a quickened heart rate, stress can have longer-term health implications as well.
Read on to learn more about the connection between stress and health, and how you can relieve some stress in healthy ways.
Short-Term Health Implications
Stress comes in different forms. For example, your body could be responding to an immediate danger. Or you could be anticipating something stressful.
There are short-term and longer-term implications of stress. For example, stressful situations such as being in an argument or stuck in traffic can trigger a “fight or flight” response. This is when the brain perceives a threat and prepares you for it.
As a result, your brain can send signals that speed up your pulse, which sends more blood into your vital organs and muscles. It may also release cortisol, which keeps you alert.
The short term effects of this are breathing harder, and possibly even a panic attack. You might also experience some temporary digestive issues, making you feel bloated or nauseous.
Chronic Health Issues From Stress
If you’re exposed to stress on a regular basis, know that there’s a link between stress and mental health. For example, those who face chronic stress can develop PTSD.
In some cases, chronic stress can lead to depression in people that are at higher risk of mental illness. Prolonged stress lowers serotonin and dopamine, two of the brain’s “feel-good” chemicals.
Meanwhile, there are a number of physical ailments from too much stress. They include getting frequent headaches, and increased risk of high blood pressure. While a stress response releases more sugar into the blood for energy, long-term it can mean developing type 2 diabetes.
In men, excess stress can affect testosterone production. In women, it can cause hormonal changes that affect menstrual cycles.
Tips To Relieve Stress Naturally
There’s not a lot you can do to avoid stress in life, but you can learn to cope with it more effectively. For example, mindful meditation has been shown to drop stress levels.
Another way to combat stress is through exercise, including low-impact yoga. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins while regulating levels of stress hormones. Even going for a walk in nature can be considered an effective way to get active.
Be sure to draw boundaries if you’re working too much, and give yourself some time to relax and enjoy life. Also be sure to consult a physician if you have ongoing health issues, and see your options for Medicare supplement plans.
Break The Cycle of Stress and Health Problems
Stress can have both immediate and longer-term health impacts. From a racing heart to more serious implications such as depression, it’s important to know how to manage stress in your daily life.
Techniques such as meditation or even taking a long walk can help your body release endorphins while reducing stress hormone levels.
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