While stress is an important biological tool to help humans survive, it can have several negative effects on your health, and can quickly become dangerous.
An overabundance of stress can affect your mood, and therefore, your relationships, not to mention the impact it can have on libido. Even mild stress has been found to affect temperament, your ability to control emotions and fear, and respond to negative stimuli. This can make you feel irritable and agitated and act short when communicating with others.
Prevent weight gain
Stress can also make you gain weight. Research has found that stressed out people eat significantly more food than those who are calm due to an imbalance of hunger hormones. While this may have evolutionary purposes, in today’s society, it can lead to overeating and rapid weight gain.
Avoid long-term heart damage
An unhealthy body weight can overwork the cardiovascular system itself, but too much stress can also damage your heart in a different way. Constant tension and anxiety can cause your heart to work harder, pumping more blood faster. This overworking can cause damage and wear on your heart and increase blood pressure. In fact, the chance of a heart attack is much higher after stressful events, such as a natural disaster.
Prevent future psychological issues
Chronic stress can also have lasting impacts on your psychology. The presence of too much cortisol in the brain can cause the amygdala to grow in size, making it even more susceptible to future stress. It can also lower your ability to interact socially, recall information or learn new skills.
So, how do you know if you have too much stress in your life? Here are few signs that you’re overworking yourself:
- Consistently have trouble falling asleep or staying awake
- Act especially irritable
- Have irregular changes in appetite
- Have an inability to focus
Luckily there are a lot of ways to combat stress every day.
Firstly, and arguably most importantly, a good night’s sleep can lower cortisol levels and reduce feelings of anxiety naturally. A cool, dark bedroom with a mattress for troubled sleepers can help you fall asleep and wake up feeling refreshed and de-stressed. Alternatively, some self-care tactics, like taking a hot bath, reading for pleasure, and engaging in creative projects can lower your blood pressure and ease internal tension. Or, you can stick to the tried and proven yoga or meditation route, which focuses on calming breaths to relax the mind and body.
Chronic, unneeded stress can wreak havoc on your health. Whatever method you choose, make sure you’re setting aside some time for yourself to enjoy life and brush everyday worries off your shoulders.