You just
got off a terrible meeting, your boss gave you an impossible deadline for the
next project, your team is pushing you to make extra hours, and you still need
to pick up the kids at school. Your body is in a “fight or flight response.”
Your stress levels are high, you feel your breath get quicker and even feel
your heart beating faster than usual. Although this is all a natural response
from your brain, if you submit yourself to this kind of situation too often,
chances are your health will be at risk.

Unfortunately,
stress is a common issue in current society. According to a study, at least 25%
of Americans claim they are dealing with high-stress symptoms, and 50% say to suffer from
moderated stress levels. The causes for stress may vary, but 46% say it is
caused by an excessive workload.

Are you stressed?

A small
level of stress isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it can help you deal with
different situations, such as having extra attention during an event planning,
enhancing your focus for a new job or motivate you to improve your performance.
However, too much stress can affect your health, both mental and physical.

Some
persistent stress symptoms might include:

•    You might get easily agitated, frustrated
or have mood swings

•    Feel overwhelmed, have difficulty in
relaxing

•    Depression, low self-esteem, irritability

•    Constant worrying, racing thoughts

•    Inability to focus, poor judgment

•    Insomnia

What stress can do to your
body

The
hypothalamus is a tiny but powerful controller in your brain. It is this
controller that “says” to your brain to release stress hormones into your
system, which triggers your body to an emergency state. It will affect all your
systems.

Obesity and eating
disorders

Hunger
might be increased during tough times, mostly caused by a hormone called
cortisol, which is released during stressful periods. When you ingest food, it
is like having an instant reward. Especially if you go with carbs and sugar.
These two types of food tell your brain to release a chemical called serotonin,
responsible for promoting instant better mood and energy. The problem is, this
won’t solve your stress and might even make you feel guilty for overeating.

Another
side effect is just not eating at all. Some gastrointestinal problems might
keep you away from food, and in some cases, can even trigger severe eating
disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. These both disorders tend to be a
coping system, as a way to get back control of life.

If you are
suffering from one of these problems, specialists recommend trying a few
healthy ways to handle. One of them is keeping a food diary. You can write down
how much you have been eating daily and what might have triggered your urge to
eat, or not eat. You can also add exercises in your routine, meditation and try
out some comfort food recipes.

Skin and hair problems

Your skin
and hair reflect how healthy you are. High levels of stress might make your
skin more sensitive and reactive. It could also affect its ability to
regenerate and heal. Skin problems might be aggravated, such as psoriasis,
eczema, and herpes. Hair loss is also associated with stress. Trichotillomania and Alopecia Areata are some of the most related
problems.

Some
possible ways to cope with this problem is t: practice some relaxation
techniques, such as deep breathing and yoga, eat a healthy diet, treat your
skin and hair with care and try to keep away from negative people. Your
environment and people around can add up a lot to your stress levels.

Gastrointestinal problems

The
gut-brain connection is something to take seriously. It can link anxiety to
stomach and vice versa. Heartburn, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and constipation
might be a few of the short-term digestive problems caused by stress. In the
long term, stress might exacerbate existing conditions such as irritable bowel
syndrome (IBS), stomach ulcers, indigestion, and constant nausea.

This is one
of the most challenging problems to handle, mainly because it might provoke
pain and discomfort. Try to understand what makes you stressed during the day
and try to find a solution for that. You can also talk to people about your
concerns, suffer in silence might add up to your pain. Remember to eat well and
take breaks during your day. Don’t be afraid to make changes. It is your health
at stake.

Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

Stress can
lead to excessive jaw clenching or teeth grinding at night. This can lead to
aching pain and complications that are even more serious, which might also
raise your stress level. Bruxism can cause teeth sensitivity, jaw pain,
headaches, and tooth erosion.

Besides
working on your mental health state, to reduce stress levels, you can also use
a night mouth guard. Mouth guards can be customized to fit your mouth for better comfort, protecting your
teeth from damages. It also relaxes muscles and redistributes occlusal forces.

Heart and Lungs problems

Stress
hormones might affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems too. The
distribution of oxygen-rich blood can be jeopardized, maximizing issues such as
asthma and emphysema. Your heart also might have to work double to pump enough
blood through your body, raising the chances of a stroke or heart attack.

If you are
constantly feeling tired and out of breath, don’t put yourself at risk and ask
for professional help. Therapists, psychologists, or psychiatrists are the
professionals that can help you find the right path to cope with stress.
Sometimes, you just need to talk to someone outside your environment, who will
be able to give you serious advice. Stress-related problems can escalate
quickly and evolve to severe mental health issues such as depression and panic
attacks.



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