The Effects Of Stress On The Body And Mind

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Are you dealing with a high level of stress day in and day out? If so, you are not alone, because many people live a stressful lifestyle. If you are unfamiliar with the effects of stress on the body and mind, you may be surprised to discover that it can be very harmful.

Stress affects you physically and mentally. Everything from your mood to your ability to stay awake is impacted by stress. It’s important to make the connections between how you feel and the amount of stress you’re under because:

  1. It helps you identify stressors. If you get headaches every time you spend time with a particular person, it’s likely they’re stressing you out.
  2. You won’t mistake your symptoms for other health conditions.

Ok, so let’s dive into it. Here are 16 negative effects of stress on your mind and body:

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1. Poor Cognitive Functions

Chronic stress can become so bad that it negatively impacts cognitive functions. If you can remember a time before stress, you probably recall being happy, healthy and full of energy.

While you may not have much faith that your situation will improve, it can with a few lifestyle alterations. However, if you fail to recognize your condition and do nothing about your stress, you will pay dearly.

Chronic stress has been related to dementia, short- and long-term memory loss. In fact, people dealing with chronic stress are at a higher risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than those who deal with their stress in a healthy manner.

2. Heart Attacks

Stress causes the body to react in a negative manner. The body’s goal is to help you reduce stress levels while preventing as many complications as possible.

Chronic stress has been linked to heart attacks. Believe it or not, even the healthiest person with stress is at risk of a heart attack. Age is a factor, so the risks are higher among people over the age of 50.

3. Poor Focus

If you work a full-time job, you must be fully attentive while you are at work. Lack of concentration will increase your risk of error and injuries. If you want to keep your job, you will need to do something about your stress.

Allowing your stress to get out of control will only complicate things. Poor focus has been known to result in major catastrophes, such as bodily injury of a co-worker, property damage and self-injuries.

Don’t let stress cause you to lose your job.

4. Stroke

Chronic stress has also been linked to stroke, which a condition that can leave temporary and permanent paralysis. While there are ways to overcome some of the symptoms associated with a stroke, it can set you back quite a bit.

It can require weeks of hospitalization, treatment, medications and months of physical therapy to ever recover some of the body functions that are lost due to a stroke. In fact, some people never recover after a stroke.

So, to reduce your risks will require severe lifestyle changes that will effectively help you reduce your stress levels.

5. Fatigue

One of the most common effects of stress is fatigue.

Not only will you lack the stamina to perform your daily duties, but also you may find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. Fatigue is a symptom associated with a broad range of illnesses, such as cancer, vitamin deficiency and autoimmune diseases.

Even though you are not suffering from any of these conditions, you can still exhibit fatigue if your stress levels are extremely high. Once fatigue kicks in, it will be extremely difficult to regain your strength.

6. Lack Of Motivation

Just about everyone is unmotivated from time to time. The real issues begin when lack of motivation lingers around for a long period of time.

When you’re stressed out, over time, you will lack the motivation to get out of bed and dressed every morning. Hitting the snooze button will become an uncontrollable habit. When this occurs, you may feel like staying in bed. And, you may just allow yourself to do just that. Staying in bed 24-hours a day is no way to live.

Not only will you miss out on opportunities to spend time with family and friends, but also you will miss out of life in general. Each day you are in bed will be a day that you miss out on special events.

7. Obesity

People with chronically high stress levels will oftentimes be obese. While this is not always the case, it is very common.

While your obesity may be more related to overeating and lack of physical exercise, everything goes back to the primary issue, which is chronic stress.

Some people dealing with chronic stress will treat their condition with food. These are the people who are at a higher risk of obesity, because their caloric intake is extremely high and their physical activity level is extremely low.

When you’re stressed out, it’s extremely important to keep your diet in check. Try some of these stress-busting foods to avoid unnecessary weight gain and fight the effects of stress.

8. Low Self-Esteem

Stress has also been associated with low self-esteem. Now, this could be because of stress weight-gain, but it stems from the way you are dealing with your stress.

Whatever the case may be, low self-esteem has a long list of complications by itself. So, when you are dealing with a stress and low self-esteem, they will take their toll on your body and mind.

9. Outbursts of Rage

It is a fact that people with chronic stress in their life often exhibit intermittent outbursts of rage. If you’re stressed out and don’t have control of your anger, you will eventually take your frustrations out on your family, friends and coworkers.

While these individuals may be part of the cause, it’s not right to take your frustrations out on them. Once the rage begins to boil up in your body and mind, it may be time to take your exit. If you fail to do this, eventually people won’t want to be around you because you’ve pushed them all away.

10. Chronic Depression

Chronic depression is linked to chronic stress. You may not even realize that you are depressed, because some people are oblivious to their condition. You may just be walking around in a daze but believe that it is related to lack of sleep.

Chronic depression is a condition that requires immediate medical attention. Even if you do go to a therapist or primary care physician who is willing to write you a prescription for an antidepressant, you will need to focus on the factors associated with your condition. One of the factors and probably your biggest issue is chronic stress.

Check out this article for tips on dealing with depression without medication.

11. Thoughts Of Suicide

Are you having thoughts of suicide? Do you know why you are having these feelings? Well, it could potentially be related to your stressful lifestyle.

Once you reach the point in your life that you wish you were dead, speak to a therapist as soon as possible. Stress can take its toll on the mind and body, leading to suicidal ideations. But suicide is never the solution.

12. Poor Immune System

People who deal with stressful situations on a daily basis are at a higher risk of getting sick. Stress weakens the immune system, making it more difficult to fight against free radicals that cause illnesses.

So when you’re constantly stressed, you might notice you get sick much more often.

In addition to relieving your stress, it’s also important to eat a healthy diet to counteract the effects of stress on your immune system. We know we’re starting to sound a bit like a broken record here, but food is one of the best ways to keep your body functioning at maximum capacity.

13. Self-Hatred

Do you blame yourself for everything that goes bad in your life? If so, you may be experiencing bouts of self-hatred. Hating yourself could stem from the effects of stress you’re experiencing.

Stress affects your mood and brings about a wide range of emotions including hatred. While some people will feel hatred for other people, others feel hatred for themselves.

Hating yourself will not make your life any better. Of course, hating others will not either. So, your only solution is treating your condition, by finding productive ways to reduce your stress levels and learning to practice self-love. Even something as simple as a hug can help you feel loved and appreciated.

14. Resentment

Do you have resentment for people in your life, such as your parents, spouse or children? Or maybe you resent people on social media you don’t even know. While it’s common to feel some resentment for people who cause you grief, it is not healthy to feel resentment towards everyone.

Stress can cause someone to feel resentment for others, especially those who are responsible for the stress. Talking to the person or people you feel resentment for will definitely help.

But first, you will need to find constructive ways to reduce your stress levels. If you believe someone is causing your stress, you should confront them directly (in a non-aggressive manner of course). Do not let your resentment carry over to the people you love or those who are totally innocent and not responsible for your stress.

15. Insomnia

Do you have trouble falling asleep at night and staying asleep when you finally do go to sleep? If so, it could be a symptom of stress. When you’re stressed out, it’s common to stay awake at night thinking about all your stressors and frustrations. You may even set around during the day thinking about it.

Not only will your high stress level compromise your health, but so will your inability to sleep.

16. Emotional All The Time

Do you feel like crying all the time? If you wail up at the thought of spending one more day in your shoes, it is highly likely that you are stressed-out. These emotions could the be results of the effects of stress.

Some people are just naturally emotional, but if it’s something that’s out of character for you, take note of it. Stress can cause a chemical imbalance which throws your mood off kilt. Again, if your emotions start to become out of control, one of the best things you can do is talk to someone.

The Effects of Stress Are Real

Stress is more than just a temporary feeling of frustration, anxiety or annoyance. As this list shows, nearly every piece of your life can impacted by stress. Your best course of action is to learn to manage your stressors so you’re not stuck living with the effects of stress for the rest of your life.

Additional Resources

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About the author

I'm an avid reader and love anything to do with mindfulness and mental health!

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