Beware of Constant Stress
From traffic jams to huge life changes like the loss of a job, stress can show up in many different ways. Your body is adapted to deal with short-term stress, but if you are stressed for an extended period of time, your health may be in jeopardy.
Here are 4 surprising ways stress can wreak havoc on your health:
It Changes your Brain
When you’re stressed, the brain’s sympathetic nerves signal the adrenal glands to release chemicals such as cortisol and adrenaline. High levels of these chemicals may impair memory and learning and make you more prone to depression. Studies show that people with a history of stress had less gray matter in areas of the brain involved in stress, emotional regulation and impulse control.
Stress and weight gain can definitely go hand in hand. The stress hormone cortisol may increase the amount of fat tissue your body hangs onto and enlarges the size of your fat cells. Studies show that higher levels of cortisol have been linked to more deep abdominal fat. Exercise can help control your stress levels and help to keep any belly fat under control.
It Triggers Inflammation
If there is a threat to your body, inflammation is your immune system’s normal reaction. Stress can also trigger inflammation. If you suffer from prolonged stress, it can release inflammatory chemicals that may contribute to plaque buildup in your arteries and insulin resistance—a risk factor for diabetes.
It Can Cause Your Head to Ache
“Fight or flight” chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol can cause vascular changes that can leave you with a migraine or tension headache. Stress can also make your muscles tense, which can make your headache pain worse.
So start building some de-stressing time into your day! Exercise, meditation, massage or sometimes simply taking a moment for yourself can reduce the impact of stress in your life and keep your health in tip top shape.