How stress affects your health & how to cope

March 22, 2022 4 min read


  KEY TAKEAWAYS:

If you’ve ever felt your hands shaking before you have to give a speech, or had your skin breakout during a stressful exam season, you know that stress can have a direct impact on your physical body. 

However, stress – especially chronic, long-term stress – can also cause more long-term, detrimental effects on your body as well. 

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Let’s take a look at a few ways stress makes an impact on your physical body, and what you can do to help cope with its effects.

What is stress?

Put simply; stress is the way your body responds to a challenging situation. These situations include everything from sudden danger, to an ongoing problem. 

When your body feels stress, it releases hormones. This process starts when the central nervous system fires up in response to a stressful situation.

The hypothalamus in the brain sends a message to your adrenal glands to release stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Your body responds by sending blood to where it is needed, including the heart and muscles. 

When the stress is gone, your central nervous system returns to its normal state. If the stress doesn’t go away, your body experiences chronic stress.

How stress affects your physical health

Your body is well-equipped to handle stress in small doses, and some stress can even help you reach your full potential. 

For example, before a big test you may feel stressed, during which your body releases a rush of adrenaline. This adrenaline rush helps the body prepare for what’s about to happen, while helping to ensure you are alert and ready for the test.

However, when stress is long-term or chronic, it can have severe effects on your physical health

Stress & Immune system health

Your immune system is your body’s defence against harmful antigens, and when stressed, its ability to do this is reduced. 

Stress hormones or corticosteroids can suppress the immune system’s effectiveness by lowering the number of T and B cells. 

 Stress can also have an indirect effect on the immune system by promoting unhealthy habits like smoking or neglecting sleep, which ultimately affects the immune system’s health.

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Tips for managing stress

The not-so-good news: stress is normal, and there is no way to avoid it entirely. However, the good news is that there are many ways to deal with stress and manage its effects.

Here are a few:

Exercise regularly 

Engaging in regular physical activity can not only help your physical body stay healthy, but it can benefit your emotional and mental health as well. 

When you exercise, the brain releases endorphins that improve your mood, as well as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin – brain chemicals that regulate your mood.

Connect with supportive people

Talking to someone about your problems, whether it is a licensed therapist or a trusted friend or family member, can help relieve stress. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or let others know when you’re struggling, as people often want to help, but they may not know how.

Get adequate sleep

When stressed, sleep is often the first thing to be affected. However, a good night’s sleep is one of your most powerful ways to combat the physical and emotional effects of stress.

Practise meditation or yoga

We can’t all be yogis, but the good news is that you don’t have to be a professional to reap the benefits of meditation or yoga. 

Simply setting aside ten minutes a day to practice deep breathing or stretching can help ease your mind and body.

Write in a journal 

Journaling can help increase self-awareness and help you process the things which are causing you stress. 

You can simply write down the things you feel as they come to you or follow guided journal prompts.

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Supplements for staying calm under pressure

SOLGAR® Ultimate Calm- Perfect for adults who occasionally feel overwhelmed or under pressure.

Designed to balance a worried mind, Solgar® Ultimate Calm combines two scientifically studied plant-based ingredients Ashwagandha KSM-66® and affron® Saffron.

Rooted in the tradition of Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is celebrated for its adaptogenic properties; promoting mindfulness and calm. 

SOLGAR® Ultimate Calm Daily Support- Ideal for adults leading busy and hectic lifestyles who want daily on-going support to build resilience to stresses and strains of modern life.

Developed by our team of experts, Ultimate Calm Daily Support is designed to build your resilience to the stresses of modern life and supports your state of mind. 

This unique formula contains two scientifically studied ingredients – a naturally sourced B-complex (Panmol) and a standardised rhodiola extract (Rhodiolife). 

SOLGAR® Vitamin B-Complex ‘100

is a high dose formulation delivering a 100 mg of all 8 key B vitamins. B vitamins, like vitamin B12, support nervous system health and psychological wellbeing.

Many B vitamins are interdependent, and thus it is best to take them in combination, such as through a B-complex or a multiple vitamin containing a B-complex.

Summing up

Stress can affect many areas of your physical health, including your muscles and joints, gut, heart, and immune system. And while some stress levels are natural and expected, it is essential to learn effective coping techniques to keep your stress levels in check. 

Supplements along with stress-reducing habits like eating a well-balanced diet and exercise, journaling or meditation, are great ways to help you cope with daily pressures.

Disclaimer: 
Food supplements should not be used instead of a varied balanced diet & healthy lifestyle.

For references, click here


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