Unless it’s a day at an amusement park, most people enjoy their lives on a steady, even keel. They like their adrenaline rushes in controlled doses, without surprise or unexpected elements. These are stressors, situations or events that create stress and invoke the fight-or-flight response, one of the most basic survival instincts.
Humans handle stress well in small doses when physiological responses don’t overwhelm their systems. Increase the intensity, say with a car accident, and the stress responses help you through the immediate aftermath, but they could end up masking an injury, and you face an emotional crash as the dual effects of adrenaline and endorphins wear off.
Low-intensity, long-term chronic stress invites negative health effects of a more wear-and-tear variety. Not as dramatic, this slow erosion stress is dangerous over time. While everyone responds differently, the effects of stress can be a significant threat to your health. Contact us at Saravit Wellness when the effects of stress are too much to handle on your own.
The negative effects of stress
You can end up with far more than a nervous stomach from stressful situations. In fact, it might be more dangerous than you think. Here are some of the major negative wellness effects stress can cause.
Accidents, cancer, cirrhosis, lung disease, and suicide all have links back to stress as a contributing cause. For those already prone to disease, the effects of stress can increase their risk. Stress weakens your immune system, lowering your natural defenses.
Strains your heart
The hormones your body produces to handle stressful episodes can damage your heart and blood vessels when permanently on the scene due to chronic stress. Heart attacks and sudden deaths spike during stress-inducing natural disasters.
Stalls your love life
Though sex itself is a great stress reliever, men can be particularly hard-hit by the physical effects of stress. When these conditions add up to erectile dysfunction, then performance anxiety adds to the stress burden, creating a downward spiral.
Kills emotional control
Getting angry is easy when you’re stressed, but that’s just the start of how your control over emotions might fail. Even mild stress interferes with your ability to manage fear and anxiety.
Ruins your diet
Eating as much as possible as a hedge against lean times is ancient behavior that’s still with you today. Stress can erode your self-discipline and force you to choose food as a coping mechanism. You might eat up to 40% more food when stressed.
Taking charge over stress
Balance is the buzzword when the effects of stress arise. There’s a good reason for it. Some of the best stress-killing strategies point you in the opposite direction. Try these approaches as antidotes for stress.
Three- to five-minute breathing exercises are remarkably calming for both body and mind.
There’s no need to make unreasonable plans for daily gym sessions. Just get up and move when the weight of the moment weighs on you.
Listen to music
Calm music has a calming effect, but even if 1970s punk is your thing, connecting with music can disconnect the stress.
Talk it out
Talk to yourself, run your situation by a friend — whatever it takes to acknowledge and divest yourself from your stress.
Skip the caffeine
Trade your coffee or energy drinks for water or green tea to skip the blood pressure spike.
Reach out when the effects of stress overwhelm you. Often, all you need to change the stress game around is that first step. Siatta B. Dunbar, DO, and our team at Saravit Wellness can help you out of the stress trap with a total approach that considers your wellness across the board. Contact our clinic in Burnsville, Minnesota, by phone or using the appointment request link.
Telemedicine consultation is now available for all services.