Stress is the body’s way of responding to demand or threat.
The effects of stress can be harmful to the mind and body or may worsen the conditions.
It appears due to hormonal imbalance, improper functioning of the body organs and body’s way of protecting you.
You cannot cure or control stress but can reduce it by following a healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition.
In this article, we are going to discuss the effects of depression and its harmful impacts on the mind and body.
What is Stress?
A small dose of stress isn’t critical as it helps you to stay focused and alert.
It helps you to meet the challenges, work deadlines, give strength to defend yourself.
But it can be harmful if it appears in a mild form.
When you over stress you easily involve in an argument, gets over emotional that lead to many health problems.
Chronic stress may almost affect your every system in the body.
Chronic Stress and its Effects that may Hinder Your Lifestyle
1. Stress Kills the Brain and Thinking Power
When someone experiences stress, an area of the brain that contributes to emotional processing sends a distress signal to the brain.
It affects your memory and learning power, that kills your brain.
The symptoms may lead to lack of sleep, headache, or people may drink alcohol and smoke cigarette to relax.
The harmful effects of stress includes:
- It may affect your thinking power and relationships.
- Chronic stress leads to long-term changes in the brain and increases the risk of mental illness.
- It may lead to long-term changes in the structure and functioning of the brain.
- It hurts your memory power and shrinks your areas of the brain.
2. You May Find Difficult to Control Your Emotions
According to Neuroscientists, Mild stress in everyday life may hinder your memory, makes you short-tempered and emotional.
It reduces the person’s ability to control emotions, and they find difficulty in managing fear and anxiety level.
Stress secrete the hormone cortisol in the brain that makes it difficult to control the emotions.
It may also raise the blood pressure and cause the body to retain fluids, that may put more stress on the heart.
However, a person can control it with stress control techniques and therapies.
3. Stress Affects Your Heart Health
The chronic level of stress increases the risk of heart attack or heart-related disease.
Stress can physically damage your heart muscles, increase your heart rate and blood pressure or forces your heart to work harder.
The effects of stress on the heart lead to inflammation and damages blood vessel linings.
According to study, Stress level can increase atherosclerosis, and heart stroke.
Long-term effects of stress on heart
- Damage your arteries
- Increases high blood pressure
- Increases cholesterol levels
- Weakens The Immune System
- Irregular Heart Beats And Rhythm
To reduce stress people indulge in unhealthy habits such as smoking, overeating, taking drugs or drinking alcohol.
4. Stress Weakens Your Immune System
The harmful effects of anxiety are that it weakens the immune functioning of the body.
Higher the stress level on the mind, the more immune system will suffer, that makes them more vulnerable to cold and infections.
It may dampen your infection-fighting abilities and may lead to inflammation in the body.
It affects your immune system in two ways
- Stress harms the tissues due to chronic inflammation.
- It damages the fighting abilities of the immune system.
Effects of prolonged stress on the immune system
- When you fight or get stressed, your body produces stress hormones that suppress the immune system. It reduces the number of immune cells and increases the risk of infection.
- Due to stress the body’s ability to reduce inflammation ends up and causes cortisol levels to keep rising.
- Stress can negatively impact your ability to recover from a heart attack and affect your brain.
To improve your immune system, you can read more about healthy recipes to boost immune system.
5. Stress May Leads to Depression
Depression occurs due to many causes such as stress hormones, genetics, brain chemical or due to life situations.
These symptoms produce many stress hormones in the body, increases the level of stress and illness.
Stress reduces the brain ability to keep itself healthy and provokes depression.
Depression symptoms include:
- Lack of sleep or difficulty sleeping
- Reduced working memory
- Poor learning ability
- The feeling of sadness or inability to feel joy
- You want to cry for no reason
Physical effects of stress that turns into body
- Stress can disrupt your relationships that lead to arguments, irritation, and problems with the partner.
- The initial low mood symptoms may lead to further anxiety.
- It disrupts the person’s health and lowers their mood that brings more stress.
- It leads to disruption of eating and sleeping routine and gives a boost to unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle.
You can read our related article on How to deal with depression & anxiety.
6. Chronic Stress Shrinks Your Brain and Stops the Production of New Brain Cells
Our brain loses cells every day and has the opportunity to recreate it.
But with stress and anxiety, the symptoms get worse, as the stress stop the production of new cells.
According to the University of California, Neuroscientists found that chronic stress triggers long-term changes in brain structure and function.
What are the effects of tension on the brain
- It leads to memory problems, affects your memory power, and makes you forgetful and emotional.
- Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) helps to keep your brain healthy. With stress, the high level of cortisol inhibits BDNF production.
- Cortisol halts the production of protein BDNF to keeps brain cells growing.
- It reduces the brain chemicals that lead to depression and anxiety.
- Chronic stress shrinks the brain and cortisol destroy and harm existing brain cells.
- It may also leads to stress and heart disease.
7. It can Make You Weight Gain and Digestive Disorders
Chronic stress may lead to a variety of digestive disorders that can be the bloated stomach, cramping, constipation, and diarrhea.
The effects of anxiety can contribute to weight gain, produce stress hormones and our body less carve for healthy food.
Our body experience shift in energy level, metabolism rate and energy flow.
These changes affect the digestion, appetite and lead to weight gain in many ways.
Cortisol and Chronic Stress lead to Weight Gain in many ways:
- Metabolism: Too much cortisol that causes more weight gain, and makes dieting more difficult.
- Cravings: When you are stressed you crave for sweets, fatty food, and processes unhealthy food that is not good for health.
- Blood Sugar: It increases the blood sugar level that causes mood swings, fatigue, diabetes and other heart-related diseases.
- Fat Storage: High level of stress leads to storage of fats.
You can improve the digestive system by eating a healthy diet.
8. It Distorts Your Mood and Relationship
Chronic Stress makes you irritated, fatigue makes you highly reactive, and you are not able to concentrate on doing things.
You may lose control or deal with the feeling of helplessness, and hamper your thinking and decision power.
The stress can lower your quality of life and affects relationships with others.
- You see negativity in everything, and instead of perfection, you see failure.
- A stressful person draws an outcome that things are going wrong or something unpleasant will happen over and over again.
- You always think of negative consequences and ignore positivity.
These effects negatively impact on stress responses and mental health.
9. It Affects Your Skin, Hair, and Teeth
Chronic stress leads to hormonal imbalances, that affects your hair, skin, gums, and teeth.
Due to stress, the blood flow to the skin gets reduced and give rise to many skin problems like acne, or psoriasis.
The other effects of anxiety are gum problems, hair fall, and unhealthy eating decisions.
It also has significant effects on oral health. When in stress many people grind their tooth, that can damage teeth, jaw, facial pain or a headache.
Stressful people ignore personal hygiene and engage in alcohol or smoking that has adverse effects on oral health.
10. It leads to Long Term Disability and Many Diseases
Many health problems appears with stress that affects your mind and body.
The stress symptoms are anxiety disorders, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and mental illness.
However, the emotional sign can be irritation, no sense of humor, frustration, apathy or hopelessness.
- Due to stress heart rate or blood pressure rise dramatically.
- It suppresses the immune system such as cold, flu and viruses.
- Stress develops the symptom of cancer such as virus-related tumors.
- It can cause eczema, psoriasis, cold sore or blisters skin problems.
- It can lead to long-term disability and render your working conditions.
- Stress is bad for bones and muscles as it lowers the bone density and causes more physical pain.
11. Stress Affects Your Sleep Patterns
Stress can lead to sleep deprivation, insomnia or hinder your quality of sleep.
It causes hyperarousal that upsets the balance of sleep and wakefulness.
The risk factors that contribute to lack of sleep are:
- Overthinking: It leads to overthinking related to work or about the things.
You think about work or useless thoughts that wouldn’t leave your mind and makes sleep more difficult.
- Caffeine: A stressful person consumes more amount of caffeine that affects the amount of sleep.
- Overscheduling: You work more than your working capacity, work late night or woke up early to get the things done. That situation affects sleep.
- Anxiety and stress produce Cortisol hormones that keep your mind busy thinking whole night and affects sleep patterns.
12. Stress Increases Pain
The stress symptoms include severe pains such as a headache, joint pain, muscles pain or neck pain.
It may also lead to gastric problems, back pain, arthritis pain or severe headaches.
It stresses the body and can pain even worse in case of chronic stress and may reduce adrenaline and cortisol level.
13. Stress Destroy Peace of Mind and Contributes to Addiction
It affects your way of thinking or feeling and affects you mentally or emotionally.
To escape these stressful feelings people raise their drinking to soothe their mood.
And to treat stress, they get addicted to alcohol, tobacco, unhealthy food addictions and other habits.
It leads to long term effects of stress and affects both mental and physical health.
The signs and effects of anxiety include
- Difficulty in Making Decisions
- Feeling Overwhelmed
- Nightmares or Disturbed Sleep
- Anger and Frustration
All these behaviors worsen the problems in the long run and affect mentally, physically or emotionally.
14. Stress Affects Sexuality and Reproductive Functions
Chronic stress conditions lead to the production of stress hormones cortisol and reduce sex hormones production.
According to Dr. Axe, Stress reduces sexual desire in women and begins erectile dysfunction in men.
It can also affect the fertility in women.
Stress during pregnancy can cause a higher rate of premature birth and miscarriage.
It can also worsen the hormonal based mood changes and affects infant health.
15. Stress causes Brain Cells to Commit Suicide
Chronic stress may lead to suicidal tendencies, that may be due to premature aging on a cellular level.
Our mind and body cells changes, get divided and passed on genetics material to next level via chromosomes.
Every time the cells divide the protective hormones gets a little shorter.
When it comes in a shorter length, the cells stop dividing and at last dies, that leads to suicide.
These symptoms affect the life of an individually both physically and mentally.
Chronic stress may worsen the harmful effects of prolonged stress in long-term.
By living a happy life you can do stress management and reduce the stress symptoms.
To reduce these symptoms, one must follow a healthy lifestyle, the proper amount of sleep exercises habit and learn new ways of dealing with life and situations.