If you’ve been in any high-energy workplace, you’re probably familiar with stress. The National Institute of Mental Health mentions that stress is the method by which the body and brain respond to demands. If there’s a pending deadline or an upcoming test, your mind and your body will react to it by stressing you out. Many of us know what stress feels like, but few of us are aware of what it can do to our bodies. The American Psychological Association (APA) states that while our bodies are designed to handle stress in short doses, a constant stressful state can lead to severe and long-lasting problems.
The world seems to revolve around stressful situations, and many of us have learned to deal with it throughout our early life. While stress is a part of life, there are times when it can be overwhelming, even for a prepared person. Here, we’ll look at how stress can lead to lasting damage to the human body.
The Connection Between the Mind and the Body
Most of us think that our minds and our bodies can act independently of each other. However, the mind is a powerful thing, and its effects on the body are easily visible. The Association for Psychological Science (APS) mentions that negative emotions as a response to everyday stress can be detrimental to your long-term mental health.
Everything that you encounter day-to-day can lead to your brain thinking differently and putting you in a state of hyper-readiness. This state is the brain-body interaction at play, but it carries some serious risks. Your body isn’t designed to be in this heightened state for such a long time, and eventually, it may lead to a mental or physical breakdown. With the state of the world recently, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, these have become all too familiar for mental health workers globally.
How Does Stress Lead to Problems?
You can’t avoid stress, but there are ways that you can manage it well enough. Stress can cause severe problems with your physical health and take a toll on your mental well-being. Some of the more common ways that stress can drag you down are:
Lowered Immune System
Simply Psychology mentions that stress has a negative impact on the circulatory system, which affects how the body’s immune system performs. The breakdown of your immune system is a prelude to disaster. Without your white blood cells protecting your body, you can fall prey to any number of nasty bacteria or viruses. While it’s not as devastating as a complete collapse of your immune system, you’ll be far less healthy if you give in to stress regularly. Taking care of yourself starts with knowing when stress is too much and dealing with it appropriately.
The brain and the stomach are in constant communication, and when something affects one, it trickles down to the other. It’s no surprise that many people complain of stomach ailments when stress starts affecting their mental state. Severe issues like stomach pain and different illness types may be due to chronic stress taking its toll on a person’s gut. If you suddenly get a stomach ache and you haven’t eaten anything strange or had problems with your digestion before, then it may be a sign of chronic stress.
Those who struggle with depression don’t know when a low mood is coming. Continued stress can set depressed individuals up for a sustained low period as they try to get their energy and motivation working again. Hopelessness, helplessness, and worry have permeated society to a large extent due to COVID-19, and even those who don’t suffer from depression are beginning to feel dark moods. Stress is the trigger for this issue.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) notes that chronic can affect your health and lead to a slew of negative symptoms, including high blood pressure and heart palpitations. While you may not need to use a defibrillator in these cases, it can be quite scary. There have been several reports of individuals being wheeled into emergency rooms because stress caused them to have a heart attack. Anxiety is a sleeping fiend that most people don’t realize is lurking until the first panic attack hits them.
What to Do About Stress
There are many ways that someone could deal with their stress. Knowing it exists is probably the most crucial piece of information. Being unaware can make a scary situation even more terrifying. Taking a step back and learning how to unwind will also help you to relax. If you’re suffering from anxiety or depression, seeing a professional might help you figure out your feelings and learn how to cope with these illnesses on their own.