Stress is bad for you, I think we can all agree on that. It doesn’t feel good and the worry, anxiety, panic, anger and exhaustion that come with stress impacts negatively on the body.
Types of stress
There are two types of stress, normal and major. Normal stress is associated with everyday living. It includes stressors like paying bills, meeting deadlines, and lack of sleep. These things put you under pressure but are usually manageable as long as they do not pile up. Major stress occurs for example, when a loved one dies, you lose your job, are moving house or planning a wedding. Both these types of stress can cause illness.
The effects of stress on the body
Stress can cause premature ageing. It causes a change in the body that affects how quickly your cells age. Stress causes sections of DNA called telomeres to shorten, and this causes cells to become damaged or die. This can lead to an acceleration in the ageing process.
Stress destroys your gut health. It is well known that stress can cause stomach ulcers and indigestion. Diarrhoea and stomach pain is also associated with being under pressure. When the body is under stress, blood flow in the gut slows down, less nutrients are absorbed and oxygenation is drastically reduced. Cutting off oxygen and blood flow to the gut has a seriously negative impact on gut health.
Chronic stress raises the levels of cortisol in the body promoting inflammation and the production of cytokines. This can lead to a number of chronic inflammatory conditions. This type of stress also lowers the amount of immune signalling protein that helps the body to defend itself against harmful substances. Both these things weaken the immune system.
How to relieve stress
It is extremely important to make time every day to do something that reduces your stress. What you do is entirely individual but can include, listening to music, reading a book, slamming a medicine ball, meditating, going for a walk or attending a yoga class. Anything that helps you to tune out and relax is beneficial.
How do you like to unwind? Please share any tips on dealing with stress in the comments section below.