How detrimental is stress to our everyday lives?
We all get stressed from time to time. We have also probably heard that stress can wreak havoc on the human body, but many of us do not know that many common health imbalances may be the way our body has to respond to physical and mental stress.
Recent scientific studies have indicated that the human body's reaction to stress may be one of several causes of deadly diseases, including heart disease and cancer.
Where does stress come from?
Thousands of years ago, our ancestors needed stress as a reaction to defend many nearby hazards such as wolves or rock avalanches.
Currently, most of the time, humans are free from the danger of being eaten by a saber-toothed tiger, but our body responds as if an attack was imminent. When we feel we are in danger (eg when we are in a traffic jam or perhaps a long line at the market) arises stress and our body suffers an explosion of stress hormones that, over time, are harmful to our health.
What are some of the side-effects?
When we feel that we must defend ourselves, our heart races naturally. While this may be great if you need to run quickly, over time our heart can tire and generate cardiovascular disease, increased cholesterol and excess fat to the belly.
When we get stressed the energy we need for digestive processes is immediately sent to the external areas of the body such as the head, heart and limbs. This causes many chronic digestive problems whose origin is stress. Chronic constipation and irritable bowel disorders are directly related, in many cases, the chronic stress. In fact, calculations show that up to 20 percent of Americans suffer from chronic constipation and irritable bowel symptoms. Changes in appetite are also a stress-related illness. When we suffer mental and emotional stress, we often seek foods that comfort us and give us a false peace. Similarly, some people react in the opposite way, losing their appetite when they have a lot of stress and anxiety.