The Effects of Stress on Your Body

Millions of people feel the negative effects of stress everyday. In fact, many of us suffer from chronic stress and don’t even know it! Think about it, we are bombarded with stressors on a daily basis such as: traffic, loud noises, crowds, family problems, bills, work, air pollution, alcohol and drugs to name a few. Our bodies do an amazing job of covering it up so that we can function properly.

The way your body processes stress is managed through the nervous system. When you perceive stress, your body releases hormones and it is the nervous system that controls the release of these hormones. Your heart rate and blood pressure increases, your pupils dilate and blood will be diverted away from you internal organs and flow towards your extremities. Your body is in full “fight or flight” mode. Let me give you an example, if you see an angry bear in your path, you want your stress hormones to kick in so you can survive this potentially dangerous encounter! Your flight or fight system is going to put you on full alert.

When stressors are removed, your “rest and recover” response takes over. This is a different part of your nervous system that is being turned on. Our bodies move blood away from the extremities and towards our internal organs. Your heart rate and blood pressure will decrease and your body will allow you to focus on such activities like digestion, deification, urination and sexual arousal.

Unfortunately, it has been shown that our bodies are under constant stress, which leads us into “flight or fight” overdrive. We live stressful lives whether it be due to finances, family problems, poor health, etc. And it doesn’t help that many of us consume stimulants such as coffee, energy drinks, and sugars, for example, that don’t allow our bodies to calm down. Many times you are not getting enough sleep and running from one stressful event to the next. Your body is losing the ability to rest and recover due to your revved up lifestyle.

What do you think that this does to your body? Stay tuned for next weeks blog that discusses what happens to the body and what you can do about it!