Why Stress Can Physically Harm You and What You Can Do About It

Sherry L. Granader
Why Stress Can Physically Harm You and What You Can Do About It

Kids, work, spouses, finances, schedules, our own health and life in a modern world are all sources of stress. We are all exposed to stress and it can cause the body to release powerful chemicals and hormones, including cortisol that prepares our body for the ‘fight or flight’ response.

Stress literally changes the chemistry in our blood, causing damage to tissues in the body, which can then lead to a weakened immune system and increased abdominal fat, which can further lead to stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Stress Can Literally Hurt Your Body

The stress response can trigger inflammation and high levels of free radicals from toxins, chemicals, and pollutants, and in some cases spike insulin and glucose levels that make the body pre-diabetic. All of the above speeds up the aging process and prolonged stress can be extremely harmful to the brain causing anxiety and depression.

5 Tips for Getting a Handle on Your Stress Levels

  1. Carve out time for YOU each day to relax—yoga can help your mind and body slow down giving empty attention to the body as well as the mind.
  2. Break down big problems into smaller ones—instead of trying to solve everything at once, do what you can each day to resolve it so you will not feel so overwhelmed.
  3. Professional life and spiritual coaches can help you manage your life more efficiently by teaching you to scale back a bit if you have too many responsibilities.
  4. Keep a collection of stress-stoppers handy in case of emergency. It might be taking 5 deep breaths, going for a walk, or spending time in nature or with your pet.
  5. Regular yoga practice, good skin care, healthy meals, and a good night’s sleep go a long way in lowering your likelihood of disease and in looking and feeling younger and stronger with an active mind and body.

Managing sources of stress is important for your wellbeing. Even stress experienced from the past can have a profound, long-lasting effect on your health. Whether you are dealing with stress from the past or present, empower yourself by learning how to cope, breathe, and stay calm throughout the storm.