Stress is deadly. In fact, stress is the underlying cause of all disease. It may be stress to your arteries leading to a heart attack, stress on the cells of your body producing cancer or stress on your endocrine system leading to diabetes. The fact is that stress is a part of life. You must learn respond to stress effectively in order to avoid the natural consequences of stress – sickness and deadly disease. Follow these 5 stress management tips to become virtually immune to the damaging effects of stress.
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How Stress Affects Your Body
This short video is a good place to start as we look into the damaging effects of stress on your body.
“If you feel excessively stressed you can be putting your health at risk. It can cause a number of problems such as high blood pressure increased risk of heart attack and stroke hyperventilation ulcers vomiting and fertility issues.”
Deadly Effects of Stress
I have summarized some great articles here. The summaries will give you a good overview of the various ways that stress dammages your body and causes sickness and disease. You can follow the links to read the full articles and learn more.
This is a great article discussing the long-term damaging effects of stress on the body and mind due to the chemicals released in your body during the ‘fight or flight’ response. The nervous system controls this response in your body and when you are regularly exposed to stressful situations, the sympathetic nervous system becomes overstimulated. Because the nervous system controls every part of your body, including all of your organs and glands, a chronically stressed nervous system leads to many diseases and metabolic imbalances.
Heart disease has become known as the Silent Killer because of this effect. This stress elevates blood pressure and damages blood vessels in the heart, ultimately leading to a heart attack. This stress-induced heart attack most often occurs with no warning and, unfortunately, in most cases, it is fatal. Thus the name Silent Killer.
The article then goes on to discuss the effects of stress on our immune system leading to more infections. Stress is involved with skin problems such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis as well. Stress may also play a part in the development of insulin-dependent diabetes, infertility, as well as, many pain syndromes.
This article from Everyday Health discussed research from Wake Forest University where mice were exposed to the scent of a predator to induce a stress response. The mice exposed to this stress were less responsive to an anti-cancer drug. Further, the increased adrenaline (part of the normal, healthy stress response), actually prevented the cancer cells from dying as well.
Humans in modern society are not often exposed to this kind of predator stress. However, we do experience the same stress response and elevated adrenaline in many normal life situations. Similar stress situations you deal with may include stress at work when you are trying furiously to hit an important deadline or dealing with traffic jams on your way to work making you late for an important meeting. How about at home when your kids or all driving you to your wits end and you can’t seem to get anything accomplished. These situations put us into a similar stress response and weaken our natural defenses against cancer.
This article reviews research on the effect of stress on the immune system. When you are healthy, your immune system produces natural killer cells which fight tumors and viral infections. However, the stress response results in a lower production of natural killer cells. This increases your risk for infections from the common cold to various types of cancer.
Another interesting point in this research review was that lab studies in individuals exposed to momentary, short duration stress showed a short drop in immune response and then a return to normal. This is a healthy response. However, individuals dealing with stress of a longer duration, from a few days to a few months (aka, normal life), showed a long term depression of all immune responses. This is the real danger of stress that is not properly managed or counteracted.
Another study reported in this article dealt with the stressful effects of depression on immune functions. The interesting result here was that duration of the stress played a bigger role in damaging the immune system than did the severity of the depression.
The fact that there is an Institute dedicated the study of stress, it’s effects on the body and stress management, demonstrates the magnitude of this problem. This article from the American Institute of Stress lists 50 common signs and symptoms of stress. The infographic at the bottom of the page summarizes it all beautifully. The bottom line is that stress affects every aspect of your body. It is important that you not only understand these signs and symptoms, but that you know what to do to effectively manage your stress naturally.
5 Powerful Stress Management Tips
Manage Stress with your Diet – Top 10 Foods for Stress Relief
Often we turn to ‘comfort foods’ when we are stressed. However, the sugar and simple carbohydrates that these foods are known for only make the problem worse. Avoid sugar, white bread, and white pastas when your are stressed. This article reviews ten foods that provide great nutrition for counteracting the effects of stress. Among them are Avocados (loaded with potassium for blood pressure control), Tea (especially herbal teas with honey), Swiss chard (high in magnesium which helps balance the stress hormone cortisol), Fatty Fish like Salmon and Sardines (high in Omega-3s which help manage adrenaline levels), Carrots and Celery (Anti-inflammatory, healthy and crispy snacking options to help you avoid sugar filled snacks), and Nuts (almonds, walnuts and pistachios are loaded with vitamins and healthy fats to boost your immunity).
Manage Stress with these Natural Supplements
Your body requires B vitamins for many metabolic reactions. When you are stressed, your body is consistently using up a lot more of these B vitamins and, if they are not regularly replaced, then your body becomes further stressed and fatigued. Daily supplementation with a B Vitamin complex is very helpful. Calcium and magnesium are also used up more quickly under stressful situations. Ashwaghanda is an herb that has many adaptogenic effects. This means that it helps your body counteract the effects of stress at the cellular level. Rhodiola is an herb that helps fight fatigue and enhanced mental performance in those struggling with stress. Ginseng has adaptogenic effects and has long been used to calm the effects of stress.
Manage Stress with Exercise – Busting The Top 4 Exercise Myths
One of the effects of stress is elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol serves a purpose in preparing your body during a flight or fight response. However, with long term stress, cortisol can remain elevated which creates many of the damaging effects of stress. Including exercise is one the most effective stress management tips. However, it is not just any kind of exercise that is able counteract the effects of cortisol. Research has found that long duration, low intensity exercise such as long distance running can actually elevate cortisol levels. So, if you are dealing with chronic stress you will want to make sure that you include several high intensity, short duration workouts each week as well. This is the easiest way to exercise because it gives you a complete workout in as little as 12 minutes. With these short workouts, you will experience amazing fat burning, cortisol reducing, energizing effects that last for up 36 hours! Check out this Wellness Achiever article for more information on how this works and how you can fit this into your busy lifestyle.
Manage Stress with Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques are a vital part of your lifestyle for effective stress management. Many people overlook this area thinking that they just don’t have time to slow down and relax. However taking just fifteen minutes out of your day for activities such as meditation, visualization, and reading scripture will have a dramatic affect on your body and mind. Other simple techniques such as breathing deeply, taking time to laugh, watching an inspiring movie, and listening to relaxing music can be added to your lifestyle to help manage stress regularly.
Manage Stress with Chiropractic Care – Innate Healing Power of Your Body: Medical Proof
Stress has the most damaging effects on your nervous system. Stress causes a condition called Vertebral Subluxation. This condition stresses the nerves that extend from your spine to every muscle, organ and cell of your body. As a result, vertebral subluxation is a condition that is the root cause of many diseases and a major contributing factor in countless other health conditions.
This has been clearly documented in medical research dating back to the early 1900’s, shortly after the discovery of the principles of chiropractic in 1895. Dr. Henry Winsor’s research showed that “There was nearly a 100% correlation between abnormal curvatures of the spine and diseases of the internal organs” Dr. Winsor found that, nearly without exception, when subluxation existed, the affected nerve was deteriorated and the organ it controlled was diseased.
Your nervous system controls healing throughout your entire body. When your nervous system functions well, you heal well and you have a greater capacity for stress before it causes disease. However, when subluxation is present, your innate healing is impeded. Chiropractic physicians are specifically trained to diagnose and treat subluxation. Correction of subluxation removes nervous system interference and restores normal healing to your body. This is why regular chiropractic care, regardless of any pain or symptoms you may have, is vitally important to your wellness lifestyle. This stress management tip is the most important because it reverses the effects of stress on your body. Maintaining a chiropractic correction allows your body to continue to function, heal and manage stress the way it is designed to do.