10 Negative Effects of Stress on Your Health You Should Not Ignore

Feeling stressed can be perfectly normal, especially during exam time, or when waiting on something good to happen.

Sometimes being stressed-out motivates you to concentrate on your work, but at other times, you feel extremely overwhelmed and unfocused due to the negative effects of stress.

Stress has a different impact to different people, therefore we can say that there are two major types of stress: good stress (that’s motivating and beneficial), and bad stress (that causes health problems and anxiety).

We can conclude that sometimes a little stress can certainly be a good thing, but living in a constant state of chronic stress can cause serious health problems, making stress much more dangerous than you think. When you’re constantly feeling under pressure, anxious, demotivated, without seeing way out of that situation, it must lead to some undesired health condition.

Related Article: Tips to Reduce Stress and Cope With It

When we talk about stress, age doesn’t matter, it can have impact on everyone, even a little child, and can damage health in irreversible ways.

10 Negative Effects of Stress on Your Health You Should Not Ignore

Here are 10 serious negative effects of stress on your body and health, from disturbing your love life, to increasing the risk of chronic diseases.

1. Stress Weakens Your Immune System and Increases Inflammation

There is an unbreakable connection between mind and body and everything that happens to your mind immediately affects your body, and opposite. It can be especially seen when you are stressed-out. In that condition, your mind can’t function properly, you feel vulnerable from the inside which has an impact to your body. You’re susceptible to infections, wound healing is slowing, and the protective effects of vaccines are diminishing. Stress is so demanding on the body that the immune system suffers, making you more exposed to sickness and disease.

Researchers have also discovered that children exposed to chronic stress are more likely to develop a mental illness if one already runs in their families.

2. Stress Makes You Age Faster

Chronic stress as well as extreme stress that people experience when exposed to violence in their childhood could lead to premature aging of their cells. In a research has been discovered that stress shortens telomeres (structures on the end of chromosomes, necessary for new cells to grow) which slows down the growth of new cells.

As a result, unavoidable signs of aging appear: weak muscles, wrinkles, poor eyesight, and many other.

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Photo Credit: Daniel Oines

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3. Stress Makes It Harder to Control Your Emotions

It’s no secret that most of us have experienced loosing self-control when stressed-out. If we are exposed to stress for a long period of time it can cause us to have a short temper. Even mild levels of stress, such as that encountered in daily life, can have a negative effect on our ability to keep a grip in our emotions. Once you lose control, the recovery and stabilization process will seem impossible and very hard to maintain.

4. Stress Slows Down Your Metabolism Which Causes You to Gain Weight

Stress has a negative impact on metabolism, because it slows down the process of burning fats and detoxification of the body. Stress also increases the toxin load by increasing the desire for high fat and high sugar foods. When people are placed in stressful and difficult situations, they’re likely to consume a lot more food than normal (around 40 percent more). Crude conditions force us to eat as much as possible when food is available all around us so that we could make it through the tough times. Stressful situations also cause us to make poor food choices. That trait is hidden inside us, and comes out when we are stressed.

5. Stress Can Damage Your Heart

Chronic stress can physically damage your heart muscle. Stress hormones increase the thickness of the artery walls and accelerate the heart rate, which forces the heart to work harder and leads to high blood pressure and heart disease. Feeling anxious and stressed is linked with a 30 percent higher risk of heart attack and even 40 percent higher risk of dying in the two years period after a heart attack.

How people feel is key factor for their heart health, so they need to do everything to reduce stress in order to improve their heart health in the future.

6. Stress Has an Impact to Your Love Life

Sex may be a good stress reliever, but it can get you out of the mood easier and quicker than you think. Unfortunately, stress can create distance in your relationship. It easily distracts you and keeps you away from your partner. It is hard to communicate and pay attention to the person you love. Stress causes you to experience mixed emotions you can’t control. It can increase your cortisol and adrenaline levels, which results in production of fewer sex hormones and low libido or sex drive. Stress has been shown to decrease sexual desire and, even lead to impotence. At the end, all of these stress consequences can hinder your romantic relationship.

If pregnant women are facing with extreme stress levels, it can affect their babies, and worse, cause developmental and behavioral problems.

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Photo Credit: Dennis Lapets

7. Stress Harms Your Brain

Stressful moments can actually shrink the brain by decreasing grey matter in parts connected to emotion and psychological functions. This change leaves a trail on the brain and could cause future psychiatric issues. High level of stress damages some important parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus, the part responsible for memory. When exposed to chronic stress, the brain makes an effort to save itself, thus, it turns off the adrenals, and people experience so called “adrenal burnout”.

8. Stress Damages Your Teeth

Sometimes we respond to stressful situations by clenching our jaw or grinding our teeth unconsciously while we sleep. This condition can do lasting damage to your jaw and make your teeth thin. Also we pay less attention to oral hygiene, which additionally damages our teeth. If your dentist notices some unwanted changes, be honest and ask for help in order to protect your teeth from more damage.

9. Stress Causes and Worsens Colds

Stressed-out people always have a feeling that stress is making them sick, and in fact they are right. As mentioned above, stress has an influence on our immune system, which makes us vulnerable and prone to illnesses and the most common is cold. Stress can even worsen colds, because when we are stressed, our body produces more cortisol, which can wreak havoc on our body’s inflammatory processes. There are people whose immune cells don’t respond to cortisol, so they’re exposed to a virus system creating an inflammatory response. The body doesn’t have the mechanism that avoids the inflammatory response, which manifests as cold symptoms.

10. Stress Increases the Risk of Chronic Diseases

Some people are more susceptible to certain diseases, and chronic stress can even give them stimulus to appear. Stress is connected to cancer, lung disease, stroke, fatal accidents and suicide.

It’s not all about the stress, but how you react to stressful situations, that has an impact on your health. People who are more anxious and stressed out in everyday life are more likely to have chronic diseases and are more prone to commit suicide or to cause an accident.

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