The surprising effects of stress on your health…

Lisa Austin Blogs, Mindset to Body, Most Recent

Would you say that you struggle with stress? Do you think you have it under control? 

It doesn’t matter where you fall on the spectrum, this blog is for you. 

ALL of us are affected by stress in our day to day lives. It’s not all bad either.  

For one, stress responses can be a positive thing – it’s a natural way in which your body reacts to protect you. 

There are good and bad types of stress. An upcoming wedding, for example, can be a good source of stress. But if you’re experiencing too much of ANY kind of stress, trust me, it can take a serious toll on your body if it goes unchecked. 

You probably understand enough about stress to identify when you’re feeling it. That’s good! But not as good as understanding what stress can actually DO to your body OR how to manage your stress so it doesn’t take away from your health and quality of life. 

You might think you can power through stress, but you should be aware of the potential havoc it can wreak on your body… 

Check out this list of ways you could be affected: 

You can gain weight in the form of BODY FAT… 

If you maintain chronically high levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone, this can result in:  

1) an increase in appetite and/or cravings

2) your insulin response can get out of whack

3) body fat accrues

That can contribute to weight gain and the buildup of fatty tissues.

It can put quality sleep out of reach… 

You’ve probably experienced how stress can keep you up at night. But, when your cortisol levels are are too high, it can throw off your circadian rhythm. For most people, this results in staying up through the night and sleeping during the day (which throws off your other hormone levels, including the ones that cue hunger).

You’ll suffer from aches and pains…  

Stress can cause you to tense up, which tightens up your muscles. This can result in headaches or migraines, joint pain, strain in your neck and shoulders and lower backaches. Plus, it can set the stage for injury from regular activity. 

Don’t go breaking your heart…

When your hormone levels remain consistently high, elevated heart rate, and blood pressure can increase the risk for hypertension, heart attack or stroke. 

It’s bad news for gut health…  

It disrupts the workings of your digestive system. Not just because of extra hormones floating around your body, it impacts your appetite. This can lead to acid reflux, bloating, nausea, pain, and even diarrhea or constipation.

It’s not good for your immune system… 

Your immune health is tied to your gut health, so if your gut is compromised, so is your ability to fend off illness. Plus, in the long term, communication between your body’s stress response centers and your immune system becomes disrupted. This leads to fatigue (chronic), depression & anxiety, immune disorders, diabetes, and obesity.

Your sex drive gets put in park…  

Stress can dampen libido, disrupt menstrual cycles, and affect your fertility.

This is why it’s SO IMPORTANT to make time to de-stress. 

Your body is wired to handle short-term stress, specifically to help you in emergent situations. It is not, however, meant to be pushed to the limit all the time… 

Try these methods for relieving stress:

  1. Stay active! Study after study shows how exercise can increase your body’s “feel-good” hormones. This helps reduce the stress-causing hormones.
  2. Make time for self-care, or ‘you-time’: reading, watching videos, meditation, long baths (perhaps with epsom salts), etc. This helps create a positive, resilient mindset.
  3. Engage in hobbies or pastimes that make you feel good. Cooking, crafting & creating, sports, writing, yoga, the possibilities are endless. 
  4. Volunteer – be helpful – do some good! Your body will release feel-good hormones (oxytocin and endorphins). This is why helping others is also helping yourself! 

We tend to accept stress as just part of life, but it’s pretty incredible the damage it can cause! Take the time to look after yourself and find ways to melt your stress away. 

Need more tips and tricks for how to keep stress at bay? I have just the thing… click here to download a copy of my Unplug ebook. 

You’ll learn: 

👉Breathing techniques to help you feel calm in minutes.

👉Tips for building a resilient body.

👉Mindset shifts to help you find focus.

👉Stress prevention tips to keep you on track.

Need some help?

Learning how to navigate all the noise and continue to work towards your goals when your body is changing can be tough. I can help through coaching. If you would like to learn more about healthy eating, exercise and lifestyle changes—in a way that’s personalized for your unique body, preferences, and circumstances—consider It Fits Me. Contact me to learn more.