I am not a doctor and yet when my kids are fighting with one another at the top of their lungs, I know what stress feels like. I want to scream. I know what stress does to me before an important job interview because it cannot be a coincidence that my skin chooses those moments of high stress to break out. Still, immersed in a society where stress is not just accepted but appears to be at an all time high, I have to wonder: what is this really doing to our bodies and our health?

The Good News

Your body is designed to deal with stress. It recognizes that it is part of being alive and so it has coping mechanisms. But chronic, intense stress puts those coping mechanisms through the ringer.

The Bad News

It starts with your brain. Because of the amount of stress we deal with today, our bodies struggle to recognize and categorize stress in the correct way. Generations and generations ago, if one saw a bear while chopping wood for a fire, fight or flight made sense. Now, depending on how we cope, our bosses asking to meet with us may trigger it.

Meanwhile, the fight or flight response has our adrenal gland releasing cortisol and adrenaline. With this constantly happening, it can lead to irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches, insomnia, overeating or not eating enough, alcohol or drug abuse, or social withdrawal.

During stressful situations, we breathe faster and our heart pumps more quickly. Intense, chronic stress can raise our risk of hypertension and cause problems with our blood vessels and heart.

Meanwhile, it’s a bit embarrassing but who hasn’t had digestive issues when stressed? It’s because of those hormones released. Those hormones are also responsible for that pimple before the job interview too.

Our muscles tighten up as well which can lead to more headaches and aches and pains in general. The constant barrage of stress kills not only our immune systems but our sex drives too.

Our bodies are not only exhausted dealing with stress but we are putting ourselves at serious risk.

So, what?

At PlumbTalk, there are ten lifestyle principles we find imperative to living a wholehearted life. One of those principles is that stress is completely destructive. So why outline exactly what stress is doing to your body?

For one, knowledge is power. If heart problems run in your family, this should be a wake up call. If you’ve been dealing with constant headaches, perhaps stress is the source. With this knowledge our hope is that through the resources here at PlumbTalk and other places (therapists, churches, self-help books, and more) we can all learn to cope with stress in a healthy way and respond to it with an appropriate response.

Nina Biagini

NB Creative, Inc.

PlumbTalk Content Manager

[email protected]

We want to hear from YOU!

Were you surprised at how badly stress affects your body? What’s one thing you do to cope and take it down a notch?

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