By now, you know that stress is a common source of unease. It can affect anyone at any time. But how does stress affect our bodies? Stress manifests itself in many different ways and to many different people. If you’re feeling it more than usual.
What is stress?
Stress is a normal reaction to change, but people respond to it in different ways. The most obvious type of stress is a reaction to a negative event. If someone close to you gets sick with a serious illness if the family business is struggling.
If you’re getting a new job that’s more stressful than you expected, or even if you’re undergoing a personal transition, you might feel a lot of stress. It could even be the stress you feel when you’re about to take a tough exam or when your family is going through a difficult financial transition.
There are also less obvious forms of stress. For example, work is caused by a job that you don’t enjoy or that you’re not skilled enough to handle. Domestic violence is a form caused by the violence in your life. Health problems and aging are also forms of stress that are extremely common but often go unnoticed.
Stress and the nervous system
When this happens, the body releases chemicals called neurotransmitters that communicate between the nerves and the brain. The nerves that receive these chemicals are called “target areas.” When the nerves in these target areas “fire,” they send signals to the brain that cause a “fight or flight” response.
The fight response is when the body prepares to protect the brain and the flight response is when the body prepares to escape from danger. The flight response might sound really useful at first, but it can also cause a lot of health problems.
In the fight response, the adrenal glands release hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine, that change the way the body works. The cortisol makes muscles relax and the epinephrine increases the heart rate, allowing you to escape from danger more quickly.
Unfortunately, this is also the moment when the immune system shuts down and the digestive system receives a reduced amount of blood, which means that you can’t fight off infections as efficiently.
Stress and the immune system
Stress weakens the immune system. This can happen because the body’s resources are diverted to the “fight or flight” response, making it harder to fight off infections and diseases. However, even in the absence of a threat to the body, the immune system still needs attention.
Proper diet, regular exercise, and access to healthcare can help to keep it strong. Prolonged can also result in an allergic reaction, which is when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues.
This can cause rashes, hives, or swelling. It can also lead to a condition called “pre-diabetes,” when the body cannot process sugar properly, which can lead to diabetes later on.
Stress and hormones
Activates the hypothalamus in the brain, which in turn releases hormones that affect the endocrine system, the network of organs that regulate the function of other organs in the body. The hypothalamus releases the hormone cortisol, which is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels.
Elevated cortisol levels can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and other medical conditions. Another hormone released adrenaline, which triggers the body’s resources to be directed at protecting the brain.
This can increase blood pressure and breathing rates, but it also causes the liver to eliminate fat and sugar from the blood, which can result in “hitting the wall,” when energy levels plummet and the body stops working as efficiently.
Why does stress make us sick?
Doesn’t just make us sick because it diverts resources from the immune system. It also makes us sick because it affects the way the brain deals with disease. The immune system is designed to fight off infections, but the body is also constantly fighting cancer.
The problem is that the brain is not designed to deal with diseases, like cancer. This can lead to serious health problems, such as stroke and even death. Prolonged can change the way the brain handles disease. The hippocampus is responsible for short-term memory and spatial navigation.
The amygdala helps to process emotions and responses. When the hippocampus is damaged, the person loses the ability to recall short-term memories, including the ability to recall their address or where they parked their car. The amygdala shuts down the stress response and blocks other parts of the brain from regulating emotions.
How to stop stress from making you sick
The good news is that many of the health problems that come from are preventable. If you want to reap the benefits, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and access to healthcare.
These are the pillars of a healthy lifestyle, but there are some more specific busting strategies that can help to prevent and manage. Try to find a happy place. Some people find it useful to create a happy place to retreat to when they’re feeling stressed.
This can help to create a mental buffer against the that is causing you so much trouble. Another way to prevent stress from damaging your health is to try to understand the source of your stress. If you can identify the source of your stress, you can start to take steps to reduce its impact.
This is a normal reaction to change, but people respond to it in different ways. The most obvious type of stress is a reaction to a negative event, such as getting a bad grade on an exam or discovering your family is going through a difficult financial transition.
There are also less obvious forms of, such as work stress, caused by a job that you don’t enjoy or that you’re not skilled enough to handle. Domestic violence is a form caused by the violence in your life. Finally, stress can also make you sick.
The good news is that many of the health problems that come from stress are preventable. The bad news is that if you want to reap the benefits, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and access to healthcare.
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