Side Effects of Stress

Stress is a normal physiological response of the body to a hostile environment. The effects of stress affect not only humans but also animals. Stress can affect children, adolescents and adults. Although the causes of stress are different according to age, the result remains more or less the same. The effects of stress on the body can be categorized into effects in the short or long term, regardless of age. When stress is provoked repeatedly, prolonged or not anticipated, it becomes pathological. Immediate, or short-term effects are normal physiological responses, whereas delayed, persistent, or long-term effects of stress are the pathological responses.

When a person is subjected daily and intensely to stressful situations, it produces almost continuously hormones (adrenaline and cortisol). The excessive production of these hormones has harmful consequences on the nervous system: the excess of cortisol (due to a state of repeated stress) will block the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus, a region of the brain known to act on the mood. Cortisol will also interfere with neuronal communication by blocking serotonin-stimulated receptors, a molecule involved in mood disorders. A process that, in the long run, could lead to depression.

Skin Problems

The consequences of stress also affect our superficial blood vessels, as they will prefer to direct blood to the muscles rather than to the skin. Our epidermis will be less well-nourished and will tend to blush, or on the contrary pale, as well as aging prematurely.

Skin diseases and inflammations can therefore result from the consequences of stress, such as psoriasis or urticaria. Acne, for its part, will be caused by an excess of sebum due to a large production of cortisol.

Hair Problems

Just like the skin,  in time of stress our hair don’t get enough blood. The growth of our hair is slowed down, which can even lead to it falling.

The scalp, more sensitive, is also affected. It can be itchy, painful or even desquamate and cause dandruff due to stress.

A Weakened Immune System

Normally, our body has the necessary resources to counter the viruses and assaults that threaten us daily. Except of course if he it’s too busy fighting an immediate threat, message conveyed by the consequences of stress.

As a result, we are more vulnerable to new infections, as well as waking up existing ones, worsening their symptoms and disrupting their healing. In addition, a weakened immune system could even cause the appearance of new allergies.

Digestive Problems

The same process is observed in our digestive system in the face of the consequences of stress. Too busy in dealing with the danger of stress, it slows down and disrupts intestinal activity, and does not properly assimilate food.

Result: heartburn, acid reflux, peptic ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome and, of course, constipation, diarrhea and indigestion. In short, it’s not for nothing that stress makes your stomach ache!

The symptoms of stress are numerous and variable from person to person. They can be classified into three categories: physical, psychic and behavioural symptoms.

Sleep Problems

We have all experienced these disorders at least once in our life. Stressful situations prevent us from getting to sleeping or waking up in the middle of the night. The problems of insomnia are not only negative for the inconvenience they cause, but also for the fatigue and tiredness that you will feel all the time. The inability to sleep hinders the implementation of many body functions throughout the day.

How to Manage Stress

It all depends on the situation that caused the stress and type of anxiety that affects each person. Stress can be very difficult to eradicate completely, but there are still habits to adopt that can reduce it.

Sport is a great ally against stress. Practicing a sport can help relieve tension and increase a person’s energy level. Just going for a long walk two to three times a week can make a difference, even if a sport of greater intensity will always be more effective.

To reduce your stress levels, you must also pay attention to your diet. Adopting a healthy and balanced diet, rich in omega 3 fatty acids (like those found in fish) will help you reduce your stress because a well-nourished body is a well-regulated body.

Relaxing activities such as mindfulness meditation, yoga or psychological relaxation are very beneficial for reducing stress to a minimum levels. Take time for yourself, to go out, to take a bath for example. It can really make a difference.

Surround yourself with people who are dear to you and who can provide you with psychological support during difficult times that cause you stress. After an afternoon spent with a friend or family, your stress levels drop drastically. In addition, it has been proven that physical contact and displays of affection have the potential to improve the health of people who suffer from anxiety and depression.