There are a variety of things and situations in your daily life that can cause stress. It can be the rush hour traffic, your credit card bills, your family and relationships, or your very demanding boss at work. Every time any of these cross your mind, your heart just races and your muscles tense up. If this happens frequently, your health could be in jeopardy.
What are the common symptoms of stress?
When you are stressed, your body may experience the following physical signs and symptoms:
- Chest pains
- Muscle pain and tension
You may also go through certain behavioral changes, such as:
- Angry outbursts
- Loss of appetite or increase in appetite
- Isolation from others
- Loss of motivation to do usual day-to-day tasks
- Easily irritated or annoyed
What are the impacts of stress on your body?
Once you manifest any of the common stress signs and symptoms, you have to find ways to lower your stress levels as soon as possible. Otherwise, your condition may worsen and lead to the following complications:
Weakened immune system
Too much stress can impair immune function. If you are always stressed, your immune system will not be able to effectively fight off infections and other diseases. According to certain studies, people with chronic stress have greater odds of contracting viral diseases, such as the common cold and the flu, than people who can better manage their stress levels. In addition, people with high stress levels tend to have longer recovery time periods if they are injured or ill in comparison to those that have low stress levels.
When you are stressed, you will have difficulty falling asleep. Because there are so many things going on inside your head, waiting for sleep to come will take some time. You will likely spend a few hours just tossing and turning or counting sheep in bed. If this problem is not resolved right away, this can develop into insomnia, and leave you vulnerable to more serious health complications, such as mental health disorders, or even death.
High blood pressure
There are many unusual things that happen to your body as a response to stress. One of these is the tightening of the blood vessels, which can lead to an increase in your blood pressure levels. If your blood pressure levels are higher than normal, you will become at greater risk of heart attack, stroke, and other health problems.
High blood sugar
Another example of your body’s response to stress is an increase in your blood sugar levels. When you are stressed, your liver will produce and release more than the usual amounts of sugar or glucose into your bloodstream. Over time, the excess sugar will add up and cause a rise in your blood sugar levels, eventually leading to type 2 diabetes.
Testosterone is an important hormone naturally produced in the body of both men and women. In men, it is the primary male sex hormone, and is behind many important sexual and reproductive functions and processes. When your stress levels are high, your body will release more cortisol, which is a steroid hormone that can suppress testosterone function. As a result of reduced testosterone levels in your body, you will experience a decline in your sex drive or libido, have difficulty with your erections, have a lower sperm count, and many other sexual and reproductive health problems.
Erectile dysfunction is a prevalent sexual health condition in men. It is characterized as the inability to get and maintain an erection for sex. It can be caused by different things, including high stress levels and low testosterone levels in the body. So, if you are always stressed, your testosterone levels will decrease, increasing your risk of erectile dysfunction.
Infertility is another male sexual health problem that can be caused by stress. It is a medical condition that arises when sperm production or sperm quality is low due to injuries, illnesses, bad lifestyle practices and habits, and others. If your stress levels are high, your body will not be able to produce high-quality sperm that will have no problem fertilizing an egg, increasing your risk of infertility.
What should you do to manage your stress levels?
You have to act as soon as possible to reduce your stress. If you can find a way to manage your stress, you can keep all of those illnesses and diseases away, and live a long and happy life. Below are examples of stress management tips that you should seriously look into:
Get regular exercise
Exercising on a regular basis is incredibly beneficial to your health. It is good for your heart, lungs, brain, and immune system, and can help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. It can also make your body produce more happiness hormones, such as endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine, which can negate the bad side effects cortisol.
Learn breathing and relaxation techniques
Every time you find yourself in a stressful situation, you should strive hard to not let the negative vibe get to you. One way to do that is by taking deep breaths to calm your nerves and clear your mind. You can also consider learning yoga, meditation, or tai chi.
Find a hobby
To get your mind off of things that stress you out, you have to find an activity that can keep your busy. You can play a sport, which is also a good form of exercise, listen to music, read a book, knit, or start an herb garden in your backyard.
Spend time with your family and friends
You should find time for the people that you love and trust. Invite your family or friends over dinner a couple of times a month to catch up, or plan a weekend getaway with your special someone and/or your children to strengthen your bonds.