Can stress affect health? Intense prolonged stress suppresses our immunity, making us vulnerable to illness and disease.
A weakened immune system affects your health, and you can become seriously ill.
Stress is a natural reaction of the body, a Fight or Flight Reaction that is necessary for survival if we are threatened. With increased adrenalin, we are ready for action.
However, chronic prolonged stress takes its toll, in time. Your body is screaming that you that you need to slow down!
How Stress Affects Your Health
We all have short term stress, from time to time. For example, you are driving your car and a fire engine comes up behind you, with its siren running. You experience an increased heart rate and a moment of panic, because you were startled. The fire engine passes you, and you are able to quickly return to normal. You feel calm again.
If you are experiencing short term stress you might get a headache or migraine, feel tightness in your shoulders, feel nauseous or dizzy, have difficulty concentrating on simple tasks, or you might feel irritable and moody.
Long term stress is different. You experience long term stress when you are in the middle of a nasty divorce, when you have a family member who is critically ill for months, or when you have a job that you hate, with co-workers who are mean to you.
With Long term stress your immunity is not functioning properly and you might suffer from colds, flu, get high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or even cancer.
Exactly How Does Stress Affect Health?
If you are suffering from chronic, prolonged stress, your body is continuously in a state of fight or flight and your digestive system is not functioning properly.
Your body is unable to absorb the minerals it needs for a healthy immune system when you are constantly tense. People with chronic stress are deficient in magnesium, chromium, copper, iron and zinc – even though they are eating a healthy diet.
Without these minerals your immune system is weakened and you become more vulnerable to illness and disease.
How does that work? If you are healthy and not stressed, your body, using beta-carotene and vitamins C and E, removes free radicals. Free radicals are environmental pollutants that destroy cells or part of your cells.
Under stress, your body cannot absorb these vitamins and the free radicals are free to destroy cells. Free radical damage has been linked to cancer and heart disease.
In addition, when your body, mind and spirit are continually stressed, over time your sympathetic nervous system just shuts down “un-needed systems” like bowel movements and digestion.
Remember the Fight or Flight response? Your body simply gets stuck in its Ready for Action state when you are under constant stress. If this happens for a long time, you can really have some serious stress-related physical problems!
Stress Related Illnesses
Let’s face it. When you get sick, you usually look to a physical reason for your getting ill. It runs in the family, someone at work sneezed in your face, or some other reason.
However, if your immune system were strong and not weakened by stress, you probably would be able to resist almost any illness!
The effects of stress on health are different for every person. Why would that be? The reason is that stress related illnesses tend to attack the weaker body organs or systems of each person.
So, under stress, one person may get a cold, another asthma, and still another will break out into hives. Not only can stress affect your overall health physically, but it can also take its toll on your mental health, as well.
However, contrary to what many believe, stress induced illnesses are not psychosomatic. The effect of stress on your health is real. And, if you change your dysfunctional thought patterns using hypnosis you can actually prevent illness or help your body get well.
Examples of Stress Related Illnesses
Increasingly, scientists believe that one of the major causes of breast cancer is stress, anxiety and tension. With greater amounts of stress, tests show that cancerous tumors show growth.
There is also a strong association between stress and cardiovascular disease, and acute stress is associated with increased blood pressure.
Chronic prolonged stress may contribute to the development of heart disease, unhealthy cholesterol levels and stroke.
Sometimes stress can affect the skin, causing acne or hives. The body’s natural reaction to stress, the fight or flight response, may cause stress induced hives or a stress rash.
Stomach ulcers also seem to be a stress related illness. Stress produces excessive stomach acids which can damage the lining of the stomach.
Reducing stress reduces acids, promotes healing and good digestion. While the body is in its fight or flight state, all the energy is drawn away from the digestive system and prevents proper digestion.
As you can see, stress illness can take many forms. However, taking control of your life and handling stress in a positive way , will help you avoid stress related illness in your life!