Stress is Bad For Your Health, But It’s Even Worse Than You May Think

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We all know that too much stress is bad for us. Read about just how bad it can be.

Stress Is Normal, But...

Stress is a natural, normal response to situations that are, well, stressful. We hear a lot about how negative stress can be, but stress can be beneficial to the body too. Like when you're in danger. So just how bad is stress for your health?

Stress is meant to be temporary, short-lived, and to help you survive, and then it is supposed to go away. If it doesn't go away, it becomes a problem and can lead to very serious health concerns down the line. The "pressures and demands of modern life" have changed the way our bodies deal with stress, making stress a bigger problem in our lives than ever.

Types of Stress

Acute stress

Acute stress is the "normal" stress response someone has. For example, when a car pulls out in front of you and you begin breathing hard and your heart starts racing, that is an acute stress response. They are short-lived responses but, if the stressor is traumatic, it could potentially lead to PTSD.

Episodic acute stress

When people have frequent acute stress episodes, it is often called episodic acute stress. People that are anxious, irritable, short-tempered, and pessimistic tend to have episodic acute stress, which can, eventually, cause health problems if they don't learn to control their stress.

Chronic stress

At some point acute or episodic acute stress becomes chronic stress when it either increases, lasts for a long time, or both. Many things can cause chronic stress, including living in poverty, having an unhappy marriage or dysfunctional family, or going to school.

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Physical Symptoms of Stress

Chronic stress can wreak havoc on the body, manifesting into any number of symptoms and great health issues. Listed below are just some of the ways stress can impact the body.

Sexual/Reproductive symptoms:

• missed periods

• infertility or fertility issues

• erectile dysfunction

• low sex drive

Cardiovascular and Respiratory symptoms:

• risk of heart attack or stroke

• high blood pressure

• pounding heartbeat

Digestive symptoms:

• type 2 diabetes

• vomiting, stomachaches, or nausea

• constipation or diarrhea

• over or undereating

• high blood sugar

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Other symptoms

Mental/Emotional symptoms:

• depression and anxiety

• drug or alcohol abuse

• irritability

• feeling powerless

• disbelief

• inability to make decisions

• feeling numb or angry

• having nightmares

• frequent crying

• concentration problems

Other symptoms:

• weakened immune system

• tension headaches

• backaches

insomnia

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How To Cope With Stress

While it is impossible to completely eradicate stress from your life, there are some things you can do to decrease the stress.

• Use your support system. If you're feeling overwhelmed, reach out to someone in your life that you trust, such as a close friend, parent, or partner.

• Care for yourself. This includes getting enough sleep, eating healthy, balanced meals, exercising, taking breaks when you need to, and cutting yourself some slack.

• Don't isolate yourself. People that are stressed tend to retreat, which may make them more stressed out. Make sure to spend time with your loved ones and get out of the house.

• Avoiding drugs and alcohol to deal with stress.

Let's Keep the Conversation Going...

How do you deal with the stress in your life?

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