Everyone experiences stress at some point in their life, and we all deal with it in different ways. Stress is highly personal. Something may seem insignificant to one person, but it could be causing another person sleepness nights and endless butterflies in their stomach. There is nothing wrong with a little bit of stress, in fact, it is thought to be good for motivation and memory. However, when stress starts to manifest and impacts other areas of your life, that’s when it becomes a problem. Stress is the root cause of so many illnesses, both physical and emotional. Read on to discover some of the most surprising ways that stress has an impact on our health.
- Hair loss – Stress can lead to hair loss in two different ways. Firstly, anxiety and stress are linked to trichotillomania, which is a condition where you have regular urges to pull your hair out from the scalp. Moreover, while research is more mixed in this regard, there is also some evidence to prove that stress has a role in triggering alopecia.
- Cravings – Cortisol is a hormone that is released when a person is feeling stressed, and it is also a hormone that is linked to cravings for fat and sugar. Scientists believe that cortisol attaches to receptors in the brain that are responsible for controlling the intake of food. You may be even more susceptible if you already have a high body mass index. It is important to know your triggers, i.e. what makes you stressed. You can then ensure that you only have healthy snacks on hand for such instances.
- Insomnia – It is not uncommon to struggle to get to sleep when you are feeling stressed. This is because your thoughts are plagued with the incident that is worrying you, and you simply cannot shut off. However, insomnia is a different thing entirely. This is when someone simply does not feel sleepy, and it happens as a result of long-term exposure to chronic stress. There are plenty of ways you can try to combat this, such as enjoying stress-busting activities throughout the day and ensuring your surroundings are conducive to a good night’s sleep.
- Brain tissue – Stress can lower the amount of tissue in parts of the brain that regulate self-control and emotion. This can make it even more difficult for you to deal with stress. It is a vicious cycle.
- Unhealthy addictions – Stress can lead to unhealthy addictions, which negatively impact our bodies in many different ways. As mentioned, stress can lead to overeating, but stress is highly personal and everyone has their own vices. You could end up turning to something dangerous to try and get your stress under control. Momentary highs bring bigger lows. It’s important to find help if you have gotten to this stage. You will often find that dealing with your addiction actually means you deal with your stresses at the same time too.
- Fat storage – Stress can easily be linked to weight gain, and this is not simply because you have greater cravings when you are stressed. It is because cortisol, the stress hormone, increases the size of your fat cells and the quantity of fat tissue your body clings onto.
- Seizures – Although stress-induced seizures aren’t common, doctors at John Hopkins Hospital found that some people who are sensitive to stress can experience seizure-like symptoms, including convulsions and far-off staring.
- Premature aging – You will often hear parents joke that their children have given them wrinkles. While children aren’t directly responsible for causing premature aging, stress is a factor. Telomeres are shortened due to chronic stress. They are the protective caps on the ends of call chromosomes. This causes a person to age faster.
- Back pain – Most people are aware that stress can cause headaches, but did you know that it can also set off back pain? There are a number of studies to back this up. One study in the U.S. revealed that mental distress and anger were linked to back pain. Another study in Europe concluded that you are more likely to suffer from back pain if you are prone to negative thinking and anxiety.
As you can see, there are many negative effects associated with stress. While small everyday stresses are natural, if you are feeling stressed all of the time, you need to take action. You need to try and bring yourself away from whatever is causing you stress. You should also try meditation or exercising. If the stress persists or gets worse, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with a professional who can help. Stress is not something to be taken lightly.