One of the reasons why we´re dealing with many different health and mental problems nowadays is stress.
In the last posts we´ve seen that stress can be good but most of us live with chronic stress and this one is unhealthy and it affects negatively your physical and mental health in some cases it can be very damaging.
A very simple explanation about how stress make you sick is this, stress is a survival mechanism, it´s the “fight-or-flight” response to keep us alive when we are in danger. When we are in a stressful situation our body releases cortisol which is the hormone that turns on the “fight-or-flight” response and with this it comes a series of reactions like heart rate goes up, your muscles get tense but while this reactions of cortisol are on, other functions of your body are turn off, so your body can´t protect you from diseases. So if we spend most of our time with stress, this means that cortisol is high along with all the reactions and some functions in your body are off most of the time and it can´t protect us from diseases so we get sick.
Stress has become part of our days for most of us and we´ve learnt to live with it without realizing all the damage it is causing on all aspects of life, from health to relationships. From school, job, traffic, unhealthy diets, lack of sleep, a lot of negativity all this accumulate over and over every single day causing chronic stress and it affects the body and the brain.
Trying to satisfy and please everyone also increase stress, doing something you hate and dealing with negative people and many other stuff we live every single day are also causing a lot of damage to our body and brain.
Many people talk about mental health but I don´t see most of them doing something to reduce the problem, our environment has a lot to do with the way we feel and how we process and react to circumstances and each of us have also a lot to do with the way we feel and react to what happen to us.
High levels of stress for long periods of time weaken your body, all systems of your body are not able to function properly and its ability to defend you from diseases lowers so it´s easier to get sick. Some of the symptoms you can notice in a short period of time are constant headaches, your weight fluctuates, you have skin problems, your hair falls, inflammation, you feel tired almost all the time, it´s impossible to focus and finish any activity. Things can get worse and cause more problems like obesity, diabetes, cancer, depression, anxiety, suicide.
It also has a negative impact on your hormones making it harder for you to have good quality sleep and making you eat more specially unhealthy foods. High levels of stress increase cortisol which can lead to craving sweets and refined carbohydrates, this is a reason why it´s harder to avoid junk and processed food, this may be why if you are following a weight loss program you can´t stick to it so finding ways to manage stress will be very helpful.
Cortisol also cause insulin resistance which means that your body is not able to utilize carbohydrates properly so your body stores them as fat instead of using them for energy. Being insulin resistance makes it harder for you to lose weight and stay lean.
For the last years we´re hearing a lot more about mental health and all the negative aspects about depression, anxiety and other problems. Stress is also highly related to all this issues, it triggers certain chemicals in the brain and create imbalance between regions. There are studies that show that stress can kill brain cells.
Stress can also affect your mood getting you in a negative state of mind and making everything seems worst, you tend to over think, and make your worries and fears bigger because it triggers an area called the amygdala which is your brains fear center. It also makes you more emotional because your brain associate events with memories. Stress lower serotonin which is the “feel happy” neurotransmitter and dopamine which is the one for pleasure-reward so you feel sad, you take your phone and send a bunch of whats to some friends and upload a picture to your social media to get some likes and get this two neurotransmitters up to “feel good” for a short period of time.
When you are stressed it´s harder to have enough good quality sleep which causes a lot of problems on your day to day and all this continues an unhealthy cycle which can be very tough to get out off.
For me it´s clear that our lifestyles are causing a lot of health and mental problems so it´s crucial to start developing good habits that help us live better.
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