Does Stress Cause Illness?

StressDoes stress cause illness? Many studies indicate that it can actually harm your health. Not all stress is bad. It may motivate you to study harder for an exam or meet a tight deadline at your job. However, prolonged periods of stress can have severe ramifications for your health.

When you become stressed, your heart rate and blood pressure is elevated and your body releases large doses of adrenaline. This is known as your body’s “fight or flight” response. When this happens you may feel symptoms such as palpitations, perspiration and stomach-aches. However, your body is not intended to remain in a constant “fight or flight” state. Chronic stress can trigger heart attacks, migraines and other physical ailments. You may feel fatigued, irritable and unable to concentrate on your job, family and hobbies that you once enjoyed.

People who live with chronic stress may develop bad habits such as smoking and overeating as a way to try and cope with the negative pressure and feelings. They are also more likely to suffer from depression, alcoholism or drug abuse. This is why reducing your stress levels is so important for your health and general well-being.

To combat your stress, you need to identify the source of it. Perhaps it is an overly stressful job, a toxic relationship or financial problems. If so, consider changing jobs or seeking out a financial planner to help you get your finances under control. Build positive relationships by spending more time with people who are positive influences instead of those who are negative all the time. Let your family members and friends know what you’re going through so that they can offer you the support you need.

Getting the appropriate amount of rest is also very important, so try to get at least eight hours of sleep at night and cut down on your caffeine intake. Try taking up yoga or other relaxation exercises to relieve your mind and body. In addition, make sure that you eat well, since too much junk food will only compound the problem. Finally, get professional help if you need it by speaking to a therapist or psychologist.