Unexpected Effects of Stress on the Mind and Body

By HealthSignz | Published: May 26th, 2016

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While some stress is beneficial as it helps our body go into the fight or flight mode, daily or chronic stress can affect our mind and body in a horrible way. Apart from the side effects of stress, coping with it takes up plenty of energy that can be put to better use such as going to the gym or engaging in fun activities. 

Exhaustion

Anxiety keeps us up all night, which increases the production of cortisol. This neurotransmitter oxygenates the brain, speeds up our heartbeat and gives our body an energy boost to help it deal with stress. However, frequent and prolonged stress can limit the production of cortisol by the brain, making us feel lethargic and tired all day. 

Tip: Working out for 3 hours a week can keep the levels of cortisol in check.

Acne

The level of androgens (sex hormones) increases when we are stressed, which causes acne to flare up. Stress can also show up on other parts of our skin in the form of rashes. Women can use wither topical treatments or birth control to keep breakouts in check. Stress affects the immune system as well, leading to skin infections and eczema.

Tip: Consult your doctor if topical treatments don’t help or if the symptoms get worse.

Hair Loss

An androgen spike not only causes skin breakouts, but also results in hair loss. It usually happens 3-6 months after an extremely stressful situation. The good news is that this unfortunate side effect is only temporary.

Tip: A balanced diet heals the hair follicles, restoring them back to normal.

Memory Loss

Traumatic stress that feels like intense fear or helplessness seriously impacts the area of our brain where our memories are stored. The hippocampus actually shrinks, making it tough to remember facts, the entirety of an event, lists and time gaps (minutes to days). Stress related damage also makes it tough to create new memories.

Tip: Stay calm and composed through deep breathing and relaxation techniques.

Weight Gain

Stress management techniques help dieters lose more weight compared to those don’t learn these tactics. Stress control and weight loss are connected since it reduces stress-related binge eating. Women who are constantly stressed out metabolize fat and sugar differently from those who are not stress ridden.

Tip: Control your stress related food urges for better weight loss and weight management. 

Backache

Stress related back pain is more common that we think. Our heart rate and blood pressure increase when we are stressed. Our brain triggers the production of hormones that help us with this fight-or-flight response. This combination tightens our muscles and amplifies the body aches caused due to sitting at a desk all day. 

Tip: Combat all aches and pains by standing up every hour and stretching.

Constipation

Those knots in our stomach could me more than just an uneasy feeling. Chronic stress can lead to constipation. It impacts the thyroid hormones that regulate metabolism among many other functions. When these hormones go off track, it results in this miserable and irritating symptom. 

Tip: Head to the gym, increase your fluid intake, eat fibre rich food, or use a laxative.

Stress management is integral to healthy and happy living. While stress can’t be avoided altogether, it can be controlled and managed with time and practice. Besides preventing the above effects, stress control also reduces the intensity of the symptoms mentioned.

About the author

HealthSignz

We are a team of professionals with a significant level of expertise spanning multiple disciplines for over four decades. Identifying health and wellness as the primary factors that drive liveliness in individuals, lead to the integration of our knowledge with our common values – the result is HealthSignz (HS). Driven by passion to contribute to the advancement of the happiness quotient and well being of communities as a whole, we are here to touch as many lives as possible by enriching them with HS.