Stress: It’s Effects on the Body
Stress is inevitable in our daily lives, but how we cope with it is up to us! It can cause several issues both physically and mentally. Physically it can cause headaches from constant straining of muscles, especially in the neck and shoulder where we hold most of our tension. Stress can also cause skin breakouts from the increase in the hormone cortisol increasing oil production of the skin and thus causing acne to form. Constant stress can cause high blood pressure, which can then lead to heart disease, because of the excess amount of adrenaline released into the blood stream during times of stress.
Adrenaline is a hormone released during the fight or flight response of our body, and stress places our bodies in this fight or flight mode. During fight or flight, the body will decrease blood flow to some systems to be able to increase it to others, such as the digestive system. Being in a prolonged state of fight or flight then slows normal digestion and can cause pain, discomfort, constipation and other digestive disorders. Cortisol also suppresses the digestive system and metabolism, which can result in weight gain over long periods of stress. Extreme stress and the resulting release of cortisol will also decrease the function of the reproductive system, thus causing fertility issues in some individuals.
As you can see, stress can wreak havoc on much of the normal processes of the body and be seriously hazardous to your physical health. However, Stress does not stop there, prolonged stress can and will, in some individuals, cause depression and anxiety. The cause of anxiety and depression from constant or extreme stress has been found in studies to inhibit the growth of new brain cells in the part of the brain called the hippocampus. In mice, this caused sustained stress responses and depression. So what that says is stress can cause more stress and then depression on top of it, which can then cause more stress trying to deal with the depression. It’s a vicious cycle.
So now you ask, “Dr. Shauna, I have to live my life and stress is unavoidable, so how do I decrease its effects on my body?” Well, I’m glad you asked!!
My 10 Recommendations for Stress Relief
1. Prayer/meditation– this is my favorite, and if I had to choose just one to tell you to do, this would be it! God tells us several times in the bible to either not worry, be fearful or anxious. If we put our full faith and trust in Him, there is not room for extreme or constant stress.
2. Yoga/stretching– increases the blood flow throughout the muscles of the body and loosens tight muscles.
3. Aromatherapy– the olfactory(smell) system is directly connected to the brain and can affect mood and emotions. Essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, and citrus oils are known for their stress relieving effects.
4. Herbal Teas– herbs such as lavender and chamomile have been shown to relax the body and relief stress.
5. Keeping a journal– writing down your feelings daily is a great way to get things “off your chest” and out of your head.
6. Deep breathing– slow and steady deep breathing from your stomach increases the oxygen to your body and helps lessen the effects of a stressful situation.
7. Taking a bath– soaking in a hot tub with relaxing bath oils can ease the tension caused by stress and leave you feeling worry and care free.
8. Diet– a diet eliminating processed and sugary foods can help lower the physical stress on your body. Studies have also shown 1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries a day help reduce stress.
9. Chiropractic Adjustments– when we are under constant stress our body and muscles tense up and cause discomfort in the body, especially the shoulders, neck, and head. Chiropractic adjustments restore normal motion in your spinal to relax muscles and also allow your body to adapt to stress better.
10.Confianza– contains active adaptogens, natural nutrients that work through the adrenal glands to help your body combat and resist stress. These can help restore balance within your body and allow you to better cope with the stresses in your life. CLICK HERE for more information.
If you want to get started on the stress reduction plan I’m using and save 40%, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or text STRESS RELIEF to 843-618-9595!!!