The old saying goes, “Into every life a little rain must fall.” Stress is like rain. A little of it can be a good thing. But too much can cause havoc and devastation.
Our bodies are designed to handle a little bit of acute or sudden stress. But when stress is prolonged or becomes chronic, it can have devastating consequences to our health.
Here are just some of the ways stress can negatively impact your body:
Prolonged stress can lead to respiratory issues such as shortness of breath. Individuals who do not have an underlying respiratory disease may not be very impacted. But for those with pre-existing conditions such as COPD and asthma, stress can dangerously exacerbate the situation.
When we’re stressed we are in fight or flight mode. This causes our heart to beat faster and our blood vessels to dilate. In short-term scenarios, these physical manifestations help get us out of danger. But for prolonged periods, this can put a lot of stress on our heart and blood vessels, potentially leading to a heart attack or stroke.
Did you know that 80% of your immune system is located in your gut? It’s incredibly important to ensure your gut is healthy! But chronic stress can wreak havoc on your gut as it changes the beneficial gut bacteria. And a change in this bacteria can negatively impact your mood. And when you’re already feeling stressed, the last thing you need is to also feel depressed.
Both the male and female reproductive systems are influenced by the nervous system. When we are stressed, our sexual hormones can get out of balance and we can lose sexual desire. Men may find it hard to achieve and maintain an erection. Stress can also make it hard to conceive and affect a woman’s menstrual cycle.
As you can see, stress can really impact your physical health in a negative way. While we can’t stop the rain from falling or stress from entering our lives, we can practice healthy stress management. That means eating right, getting enough exercise, and quality sleep each night.