This Is What Stress Does To Your Body

by - 7/17/2017 05:36:00 PM

You might think that if you eat right and exercise regularly, you’re in the clear. But it turns out that what we do with our minds is just as important as what we put in our bodies when it comes to health. For a long time, scientists discounted the notion that your thoughts could affect your health. But then some doctors began seeing patients who didn’t seem to have anything obviously wrong with them. They didn’t have a fever, there wasn’t any evidence of illness through the standard diagnostic techniques: they just reported feeling lousy. It turns out that it was their mind that was creating the problem. All that stress they were under was causing issues elsewhere in their body. It was as if the brain itself was switching problems on and off.

It turns out that stress is a natural physical function. It’s what allowed us to survive when we were being chased by a saber-tooth tiger in the ancient past. Stress elevates heart rate, tightens the muscles and causes a massive increase in blood pressure to shuttle energy quickly to the organs and muscles to prepare for action.

But the problem with the modern world is that we’re not just stressed some of the time: many people are stressed all the time. It’s chronic, not acute, stress that causes the real problems.

Muscle Soreness

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Stress is all about preparation. And so when you’re stressed, your muscles naturally tense up to protect them against injury and to prepare for action. Massage is great for people with tense muscles because it helps the muscles to relax while improving mood at the same time. Having tight muscles can lead on to other harmful side effects, such as tight muscles in the back and headaches. Over time, people with chronically tight muscles can become dependent on painkillers which have a vast array of adverse side effects.

Lowered Immune System

Have you ever noticed that you seem to get more colds and flu when you’re stressed? It turns out that it's not just your imagination. There’s real science behind it. When your body is under constant stress, the immune system actually becomes depressed. There’s only so long it can remain in a heightened state of alertness. Stress is great for helping your immune system in the short term, but over the long run, it can cause it to become exhausted. Boost is with fruit and veg.

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Digestive Discomfort

The digestive system and the brain are closely linked. It was always thought that they were related in some way, but it was only recently that scientists discovered the vagus nerve, a nerve which directly connects the stomach to the brain. The vagus nerve is a two-way street: nerve signals can travel from the brain to the stomach and vice-versa. Because of this, what you think can affect how your stomach feels. Increased stress leads to increased activity of your digestive system which can result in acid spillover from the stomach. This can then lead to heartburn or GERD, which itself is a risk factor for esophageal cancer.

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