Experts really can’t stress enough how stress (you see what we did there?) contributes nothing good to anybody’s well being. But apart from knowing full well that ‘stress is bad’, ‘stress is a pain’, and ‘you should avoid stress at all costs’, do you even know why? Or more accurately, exactly how does stress affect various aspects of your health? Let us count the ways.
Your Immune System
Stress stimulates the nervous system, which is a good thing because it helps your body ward off infections and heal injury. However, these benefits count for naught if you are stressed much too often. This is because chronic stress will do the exact opposite and actually compromise your immune system, making you more susceptible to opportunistic viral diseases and infections. Not only that, it also hampers healing. It would, therefore, take a longer period of time to recover from illnesses when you are under stress.
Your Muscular System
You might notice that your muscles immediately tense up when faced with a stressful situation, and subsequently relax when the stressor goes away. Being under chronic stress, however, means that your muscles are consistently tightened up and have no chance to relax. Perpetually tense muscles would then cause a multitude of other ailments, such as headaches and body pain.
Your Cardiovascular and Respiratory System
As a response to stress, you will find yourself breathing faster in order to distribute blood and oxygen faster throughout your body. This also makes your heart pump faster, so it can achieve just that. Chronic stress means that your heart will be constantly working this hard for a prolonged period of time, which would raise your risks of hypertension, stroke, and other heart and blood vessel problems.
Your Central Nervous System
In a nutshell, your central nervous system tells your body what to do in any given situation and makes it happen by marshaling the necessary resources to do the job. It is also in charge of your body’s “fight and flight” response to most stressors. Normally, all systems go back to their normal working order when the perceived stressor is gone. With frequent stress, however, this doesn’t happen, so the body suffers for it. This normally leads to headaches, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, and depression, to name just a few. Subsequently, this could also cause negative behaviors like overeating, drug or alcohol abuse, and many more.
Your Digestive System
When stressed, extra glucose is produced by the liver to give your body that much-needed boost of energy to cope. With chronic stress, however, the surge of sugar will be constant, and your body may not be able to cope with it. As a result, unused blood sugar is reabsorbed into the body, increasing your risk of type 2 diabetes. Not only that, this upset to your digestive system may also cause ulcers and acid reflux.
Your Reproductive System
Stress is exhausting, there’s no doubt about it. So it only naturally follows that your desire for sex takes a backseat when under chronic stress. Men may notice their testosterone levels dropping, while women may experience irregular menstruation.