It's easy to simply think of stress as an annoying and uncomfortable emotion. But, stress is massively impactful on many areas of our lives, and can impact health in a much greater way than we might think.
So, to answer the question we've already posed, yes, stress can make you sick, and yes, it can sometimes become severe. But, we don't want you to fear! Taking steps toward relaxation and following our series about it (find some of our favorite posts about that here, here and here), can help reduce this risk. We do want to be open about how stress can make you sick. Read on to learn more.
Our bodies have a stress hormone called cortisol. When our cortisol levels increase, this can cause many things within the body, including weight gain or weight retention, anxiety, and potentially even depression, according to Hormone.org, a website in partnership with the Endocrine Society.
Stress can also suppress our immune systems. When our immune system is weakened, we are left more susceptible to infections, viruses, and other illnesses. High levels of stress can also lead to high blood pressure, which of course negatively impacts the body on the short and long term.
Along with the health effects noted above, the Mayo Clinic notes that stress can also cause stomach upset, fatigue and chest pain. These are also some common bodily impacts of anxiety.
As we mentioned, though, there are many ways to work to combat stress, many of which we've linked above. But, some other ways are to do the following:
- Ensure you're getting enough sleep.
- Make time for some light exercise.
- Make time for activities that you enjoy.
Stress is a powerful feeling, and can have true effects on the body and mind that surpass what we might expect. Armed with this knowledge, you can make informed choices about your health, activities, and calming/mindfulness activities to help remedy stress and keep you feeling well each day.