Immune And Reproductive Systems
Research has shown the negative effect stress can have on the immune system. In short bursts, the stress hormone cortisol can boost immunity by limiting inflammation, but over longer periods of time, too much cortisol can lead to more inflammation.
Stress can also affect the immune system because it can reduce the effectiveness of white blood cells, which fight off viruses and bacteria.
The release of stress hormones also impacts the reproductive system. Cortisol affects how much oestrogen and progesterone your body makes, which regulates your menstrual cycle. If you’re stressed and have increased levels of cortisol, it can lead to irregular periods.
Stress & Your Gastrointestinal Tract
Your stomach is directly connected to your brain through nerves. When youre stressed, your brain sends signals to flood the intestinal area with hormones and neurotransmitters. This can result in the common feelings of knot in your stomach, slowing down or speeding up of your gastrointestinal tract, spasms, increased acid secretion, heartburn, and bloating caused by air swallowing, a common response to stress.
The physical effects of stress in your stomach and gastrointestinal tract then registers in your brain as more stress. The more stress the brain feels, the more hormones and chemicals it releases. Its a vicious cycle of stress and discomfort.
How Is Stress Diagnosed
Stress is subjective not measurable with tests. Only the person experiencing it can determine whether it’s present and how severe it feels. A healthcare provider may use questionnaires to understand your stress and how it affects your life.
If you have chronic stress, your healthcare provider can evaluate symptoms that result from stress. For example, high blood pressure can be diagnosed and treated.
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Your Response To Stress
Your attitude, personality and approach to life will influence how you respond to stress. Factors that play a part include:
- How you think about a problem
- How anxious you feel generally
- How severely the problem affects you
- Whether you have experienced anything like this before
- Whether you can control what is happening
- How long the event affects you
- How important the outcome is to you
- The different ways a person copes with difficult situations
- Your life experiences and life history
- Your self-esteem
- Whether you have people around who can provide support.
Can Happy Events Cause Stress
Some of the situations listed above are often thought of as happy events for example, you might feel expected to be happy or excited about getting married or having a baby.
But because they can bring big changes or make unusual demands on you, they can still be very stressful. This can be particularly difficult to deal with, because you might feel there’s additional pressure on you to be positive.
“I’ve never been more stressed in my life than the 6 months leading up to my wedding… everyone kept asking me if I was happy and expecting me to be excited all the time, but I just couldn’t feel it. I ended up getting really ill.”
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React To People With Assertiveness
These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.Najwa Zebian
That way, you wont end up in an argument and you avoid exploding in anger or falling apart in tears. Plus, the other person is more likely to listen to you.
Stress Causes Fatigue By Depleting The Endocannabinoid System
Cannabinoid. Interesting word, right? Sounds sort of like cannabis . Most people are unaware of it, but we have an internal system called the endocannabinoid system that manufactures its own supplies of cannabis-like molecules. And despite the fact that very few people have ever heard of this system of the body, its one of the biggest players when it comes to your mood and energy levels.
The endocannabinoid system is plays a huge role in regulating our response to stress and helping us to re-establish homeostasis . It is involved with:
- Energy level and alertness regulation
- Regulating inflammation
- Fighting stress, fear, pain, and anxiety
- Starting and stopping our bodys stress response
Given those four functions, its easy to see that if your endocannabinoid system isnt functioning well, youre going to have major problems. Youre going to be overwhelmed with stress, anxiety, inflammation and your energy levels are going to suffer.
According to breakthrough new research titled Neurobiological Interactions Between Stress and the Endocannabinoid System, its becoming clear that weve been neglecting a critically important system of the brain when it comes to health, energy, and our ability to respond to stress. Heres what the researchers concluded: Collectively, these data create a compelling argument that endocannabinoid signaling is an important regulatory system in the brain that largely functions to buffer against many of the effects of stress
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How Can You Help Yourself
If you’re feeling stressed, there are some things you can try to feel less tense and overwhelmed.
1. Recognise when stress is a problem
Its important to connect the physical and emotional signs youre experiencing to the pressures you are faced with. Dont ignore physical warning signs such as tense muscles, tiredness, headaches or migraines.
Think about whats causing your stress. Sort them into issues with a practical solution, things that will get better with time and things you can’t do anything about. Take control by taking small steps towards the things you can improve.
Make a plan to address the things that you can. This might involve setting yourself realistic expectations and prioritising essential commitments. If you feel overwhelmed, ask for help and say no to things you cant take on.
2. Think about where you can make changes
Are you taking on too much? Could you hand over some things to someone else? Can you do things in a more leisurely way? You may need to prioritise things and reorganise your life so youre not trying to do everything at once.
3. Build supportive relationships
Find close friends or family who can offer help and practical advice can support you in managing stress. Joining a club or a course can help to expand your social network and encourage you to do something different. Activities like volunteering can change your perspective and have a beneficial impact on your mood.
4. Eat healthily
5. Be aware of your smoking and drinking
8. Be mindful
What Are The Standard Treatments For Anxiety Symptoms
Despite the impact that an anxiety disorder can have on your life, its a treatable condition, especially with the right combination of medication, therapy, or both. Remember, your treatment journey should start with a conversation between you and a mental health professional you trust. You have input and control over what you ultimately decide to do to treat your anxiety.
Therapy is often one of the first treatment options considered when you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. According to Dr. Gold, therapy plays a significant role in the recovery of anxiety disorders because it can help address the most significant component of anxietythe mental component. A lot of anxiety is mental, she explains, so therapy is definitely the gold standard.
As the American Psychological Association explains, there are a handful of different therapy approaches that can be considered when treating an anxiety disorder. However, one of the most widely used types of therapy for anxiety is cognitive-behavioral therapy . CBT can help you recognize and change the way you view or react to certain thoughts, which can in turn help you change the feelings and behaviors related to your anxiety.
Medication also plays a huge role in the recovery of anxiety disorders because it can help decrease both the short-term and long-term symptoms of anxiety.
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Take Care Of Yourself
When you are facing ongoing stress, it is particularly important to practice healthy self-care. Give yourself breaks to relax, follow a nutritious diet, get regular exercise, and find ways to protect your sleep.
Exercise, for example, has a wide range of positive health benefits, including reductions in perceived stress and anxiety. However, research also suggests that experiencing stress also makes it more difficult for people to stick to their usual physical activity routine.
If stress makes it difficult to stay motivated to exercise, look for ways to gradually make exercise a part of your routine. Set small goals, even if it’s 10 to 20 minutes of activity a day, and then gradually work your way up. You may find that over time, engaging in physical activity actually helps you better cope with your stress.
Sleep Away The Stress
Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summers day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.John Lubbock
Make sure you get plenty of sleep when youre under a lot of stress. Youll need it to recover mentally and physically. So, get some rest and youll wake up refreshed and ready to take on the world.
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Stress Is A Part Of Life
Life is stressful. Each of us will encounter stress as part of living. We are designed to deal with stress, even occasional extreme stress. However, repeated or chronic exposure to circumstances eliciting the bodys natural stress response can have long-term, negative physical consequences.
Most of these effects of stress and physical problems can be alleviated by taking action to change the circumstances, or to change the response to those circumstances.
If these problems suggest stress is a factor in your life, take a look at the circumstances causing the stress and make an effort to reduce the pressure surrounding the situation however possible. These problems will not go away on their own. If you find yourself unable to control the stress in your life, contacting a therapist can be a great first step.
Sometimes, chronic stress can be a side-effect of a traumatic incident or long-term exposure to something traumatic, whether abuse or more subtle, chronic neglect or lack of safety. Without safety in the environment or in our relationships, our bodies stay on high alert, which can be another cause of long-term stress.
Physical Effects Of Stress
When a person is stressed, a physical reaction is triggered. The bodys natural response to stress is a release of chemicals designed to protect. This infusion of stress hormones prepares a person to fight or flee the stressful circumstance. Stress responses are natural and help a person rise to a challenge by enhancing focus, alertness, and energy level.
When you arent able to let go, relax and unwind, the effects of stress can be harmful. Chronic exposure to stress can lead to a variety of physical stress-related symptoms and illnesses.
When a childs brain is exposed to heightened levels of stress, the developing brain itself can be altered and damaged by the stress hormones. This natural reaction of the body can result in a lifetime of emotional and behavioral problems. These are often associated with improper development of brain structures like the hippocampus, thalamus, and amygdala.
Here, we explore the physical effects of stress in adults:
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Symptoms Of Generalized Anxiety Disorder
The defining feature of generalized anxiety disorder is excessive anxiety and worry occurring more days than not for at least six months. The intensity of the anxiety or worry is out of proportion to the actual likelihood or impact of the anticipated event or events.Other symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder include the following:
- Difficulty controlling worry
- Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
- Easily fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
- Psychosomatic symptoms: Headaches, stomachaches, dizziness, pins and needles
- Physical symptoms: Shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, excessive sweating, shortness of breath, chest pain
- The anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning
Stress Causes Fatigue By Making You Hungry And Crave Sugar
Sugar cravings can lead to making poor food choices, which is another way that stress causes fatigue and can kill your energy. If you are going for soda, doughnuts, candy, energy drinks, or cookies, it is a recipe for terrible energy levels.
The main reason why refined sugar can wreck your energy is the neurotransmitter orexin, which is the single most important neurotransmitter when it comes to wakefulness and energy levels. Dont get thrown off by these sciency terms like neurotransmitter and orexin. All you need to remember is this: High Orexin = High Energy. And Low Orexin = Low Energy.
Poor food choices will directly impact on orexin for several reasons:
- Large glycemic loads directly suppress orexin
- Low fiber content and low protein content of the meals. Processed food rich in sugar tends to be low in both fiber and protein, which further suppresses orexin
- Poor food choices tend to increase inflammation, and inflammation is the most potent suppressor of orexin
Energy Drinks, especially, causes fatigue as they sap your energy levels. Check out how energy drinks causes fatigue HERE
So while those sugary foods may give you an initial jolt of energy, they are making your energy worse in the long haul.
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Why Do We Feel Shaky
During periods of intense nervousness or anxiety, adrenaline/epinephrine is being pumped into the body as the “Fight or Flight” system is activated. It’s the reason that we shake before a big test, or when confronted with a dangerous situation. Your body is essentially preparing to run.
When you suffer from anxiety disorders, your fight/flight system is acting out on its own. You’re receiving these rushes of energy, and your body starts to shake as a result. But because you’re neither fleeing nor fighting, your body simply continues to shake, and that can cause significant distress for those that are trying to maintain their calm.
Shakiness Is Something You Need To Deal With In Advance
The reality of feeling shaky is that the best way to stop it is with prevention. There are techniques that can reduce anxiety at the moment, but once anxiety hits it’s harder to control than if you never experienced that anxiety in the first place.
So while this article explores anxiety shaking, it helps to remember that anxiety itself is what needs to be controlled the most and with the right treatment the shakiness can go away.
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Say No To Any Extra Stress
Dont sacrifice your well-being for other peoples approval. Youre not helping yourself by accepting every task people pile on you.
Besides, people wont hate you if you say no to their requests. If they do, screw them! They arent the kind you want in your life, anyway.
So, say no to adding unnecessary tasks to your schedule. Reduce your workload if possible, especially if youre already overwhelmed.
Rising Blood Pressure & Blood Sugar
Your heartbeat and blood pressure increase in response to stress. This change helped prehistoric humans survive by helping them run away faster or fight harder.
Short-term increases in blood pressure are expected in response to stress. Chronic responses to stress are thought to contribute to hypertension. This increases the chances of kidney failure, stroke, and heart attack or even heart failure.
Constant stress produces high levels of adrenaline, which can raise your blood pressure and your blood sugar. High blood pressure and blood sugar can weaken the heart and many other organs. This can also explain why you might have sugar cravings.
Excessive caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco can increase your adrenaline.
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Stress Causes Fatigue By Decreasing Thyroid Hormones
When it comes to energy , thyroid hormones are a major key.
If you want to know what happens when you dont have adequate levels of thyroid hormones, just look up the symptoms of hypothyroidism. You will see things like fatigue, depression, anxiety, hair loss, chronic pain, muscle weakness, fat gain, and many others.
In short, if your thyroid hormones are low, the ability of all your cells to produce energy from your brain cells to your heart cells to muscle cells to the cells of your liver and everything else takes a hit. And when the cells of all those systems of the body are not producing energy adequately, they function poorly. So you start to get those symptoms that I just mentioned.
Here is the key point: Chronic stress lowers thyroid function and levels of the thyroid hormones. In other words, chronic stress can act in similar ways to hypothyroidism in causing symptoms like fatigue, depression, hair loss, fat gain, pain, and many others.
Lower thyroid hormones is yet another way that stress can wreck your energy .
Anxiety Isnt Only In Your Head
If you have anxiety, you might frequently feel worried, nervous, or afraid about ordinary events. These feelings can be upsetting and difficult to manage. They can also make daily life a challenge.
Anxiety can also cause physical symptoms. Think about a time when you felt anxious. Maybe your hands were sweaty or your legs were shaky. Your heart rate might have sped up. You could have felt sick to your stomach.
You might have linked these symptoms to your nervousness. But maybe you werent sure why you felt unwell.
Most people experience anxiety on occasion. Anxiety can be serious or turn into a disorder if it lasts for a long time, causes significant distress, or interferes with your life in other ways.
Types of anxiety include:
Some types of anxiety have unique symptoms specific to the fears linked to the anxiety. In general, though, anxiety disorders share many physical symptoms.
Read on to learn more about anxietys physical symptoms and how they can affect you.
Anxiety can have physical symptoms that affect health and daily life.
Specific types of anxiety might have additional physical symptoms.
If youre having a panic attack, you might:
- fear that youre going to die
- have trouble breathing or feel as if youre choking
- have numb or tingling sensations in parts of your body
- have chest pain
- feel lightheaded, dizzy, or as if you might pass out
- feel overheated or have chills
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