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Is stress affecting your health

Is stress affecting your health

Stress is a normal part of life, we all experience stress especially in today’s modern world. In short bursts stress can actually be beneficial. It keeps us motivated to manage situations effectively and more productively. It’s only when stress becomes chronic over weeks, months or years, that it negatively affects our health.

Stress and your adrenal gland

The adrenal glands are small organs located above the kidney and produce stress hormones such as cortisol in response to stress known as “fight or flight response”. Cortisol raises blood pressure, transfers blood from our intestines to our extremities, increase our heart rate, suppress our immune and digestive system. When the perceived threat is gone, our parasympathetic nervous system returns our body back to balance. In times of chronic stress, this often doesn’t happen quick enough, causing damage to our body.

Health problems associated with high cortisol levels include:

  • Impaired cognitive function,
  • Hypothyroidism (reduced thyroid function),
  • Sleep disturbance,
  • Suppressed immunity and slow wound healing,
  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar),
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure),
  • Carbohydrate cravings,
  • Type 2 diabetes,
  • Reduced libido,
  • Bone loss,
  • Decreases muscle mass,
  • Fat deposits around the belly. Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks and strokes.

Try to include some stress free activities regularly to help you de-stress and unwind. Be sure to choose which ever makes you feel most centred and relaxed.

Stress free zone

  • Treat yourself to a warm bath,
  • Get some fresh air, go for a walk or bike ride,
  • Turn off all electrical devices (no phone calls, emails or social media),
  • Treat yourself to a regular massage,
  • Sip on some Botanical envy Relax herbal tea
  • Listen to your favourite tunes,
  • Get guidance from your health practitioner (naturopath or herbalist) on some nutrients for combating stress,
  • Try guided meditation. How Meditation Works  Check out  headspace for some cool information to help you.

References:
Mayoclinic (2017) Chronic stress put your health at risk. Retrieved from URL https//www.mayoclinic.org

Helpguid.org (2017) Stress, symptoms and causes. Retrieved from URL https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-symptoms-signs-and-causes.htm