July 13, 2015

In the business of modern lifestyle, stress can play a great part in our lives. Today, I want to address the dramatic impact that stress can have on our bodies, moods, and behavior.

Stress can be emotional, physical, or chemical. Emotional stress we understand, such as dead-lines, relationship issues, and such. Physical stress would include accidents and injuries to the body. Chemical stress can be the internal balance, including infections, and diseases. All three of these put stress on us. Here is how stress can affect us.

Stress Damages Our HeartStress can physically damage your heart muscle, because stress hormones increase our heart rate and constrict our blood vessels. This forces our heart to work harder and increases our blood pressure. Evidence shows there is a direct link to the rate of heart attacks and stress. A study of 200,000 employees in Europe found that people who have stressful jobs are 23% more likely to have a first heart attack than people with less job-related stress.

Stress Weakens Our Immune SystemMany people often find that they get sick during or right after a stressful period in their life. Stress is so demanding on the body the immune system suffers, making us more vulnerable to colds and infection.

Stress and Skin ProblemsStress can trigger acne, psoriasis, and other skin problems. Research suggests that students with acne are more prone to outbreaks during exams compared to less stressful times. An increase of male hormones known as androgens could be the cause.

Stress Can Bring Out DiseasesBecause of the weakening of the immune system, stress can give rise to certain diseases. It has been linked to cancer, lung disease, fatal accidents, suicide, and cirrhosis of the liver. Stress also seems to exacerbate asthma in people who have it.

Stress and Brain FunctionToo much of the stress hormone cortisol can interfere with the brain’s ability to form new memories. During acute stress, the hormone also interferes with neurotransmitters, which brain cells use to communicate with each other. This can make it hard to think straight or retrieve memories. Brain-imaging research also shows that major stresses can reduce the amount of tissue in regions of the brain that regulate emotions and self-control.

Stress and AgingChronic stress is a major contributor to premature aging. Traumatic events and chronic stress can shorten telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of cell chromosomes. This keeps new cells from growing quickly, which leads to the inevitable signs of aging: wrinkles, weak muscles, poor eyesight, and more.

Coping with Stress:Fortunately, there are several things that we can do to help us cope with stress. Here are some:

  • Physical activity
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Herbs
  • Body Stress Release

For Your Health!Amy Willis, Your Local Herbalist