It may be surprising to you that at least 75 percent of all doctor office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.1 Our thoughts and feelings can have a detrimental impact on our health. To the contrary positive thoughts may improve better physical wellbeing.2
Humans are characterized as having both a nonphysical mind and body and a physical brain. We consider them separate entities, but science shows a definite connection. Our thoughts have an impact on our bodies. Emotions affect us physically. If you think back to when you were nervous, maybe going on a job interview or first date. Your heart may be beating faster, your stomach upset, and your mouth may be dry. Loneliness, sadness, or depression can also affect us physically, and when it comes to more complex emotions or illnesses, few of us consider our feelings to have any relevance. Stress makes our muscles tense up. Muscle tension is almost a reflex reaction to stress—the body’s way of guarding against injury and pain.3
Emotional health can be affected by good and bad life events like marriage or divorce, a promotion, or a layoff. It also can be affected by daily routines such as fighting rush hour traffic, meeting a deadline, unrealistic self-expectations, and interpersonal relationships.
Stress, anxiety, and depression effects on the body
The emotions may contribute to developing high blood pressure, a stomach ulcer, back pain, constipation or diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, and weight gain. In addition, you may have trouble falling or staying asleep. When the emotions become long-term, and cortisol levels remain high for extended periods, they can contribute to chronic fatigue syndrome, impaired adrenal function, inflammation, and memory impairment.4
How stress affects the immune system
Stress increases our likelihood of getting sick. Stress diminishes white blood cell response weakening your immune defenses and making the body more susceptible to virally infected cells and cancer cells. Stress may also make vaccinations less effective in those who are stressed. Wounds heal less readily in those who are stressed. It may be wise to reinforce immunity with zinc and vitamin C supplements. 5
Stress also brings along the tendency to indulge in unhealthy behaviors. When stressed, we are more likely to turn to comfort foods such as sweets, refined carbs, drinking, and smoking. These unhealthy behaviors increase the chances of getting sick.6
Stress and gut health
The gut’s nerves and bacteria strongly influence the brain and the brain can strongly influence the gut. Early life stress can change the development of the nervous system and how the body reacts to stress. These changes can increase the risk for later gut diseases or dysfunction. Stress can affect digestion and what nutrients the intestines absorb. Gas production related to nutrient absorption may increase.7 This may call for an increased need for nutrients. Maximum Vibrance would be of benefit to ensure that the body is receiving optimal nutrition during stress to run efficiently.
Stress influences the gut bacteria to release metabolites, toxins, and neurohormones. The impact on the gut bacteria can alter eating behavior and mood. The gut bacteria may also upregulate stress responsiveness and heighten the risk for depression, which probiotic supplementation may be helpful.8
Supplementing with a product that contains probiotics, botanicals that help alleviate inflammation and promote healing of the gastrointestinal lining such as Digestive Vibrance.
Cardiovascular system response to stress
Acute stress—momentary or short-term stress such as deadlines, traffic jams, or suddenly slamming on the brakes to avoid an accident, causes an increase in heart rate and stronger heart muscle contractions with the stress hormones.
In addition, the blood vessels that direct blood to the large muscles and the heart dilate, increasing the amount of blood pumped to these parts of the body and elevating blood pressure.
Chronic stress, or constant stress experienced over a prolonged period, can contribute to heart and blood vessels problems. The consistent and ongoing increase in heart rate and the elevated levels of stress hormones and blood pressure can take a toll on the body. This long-term constant stress can increase the risk for hypertension, heart attack, or stroke.9
The effects of stress for women
Stress may affect menstruation among adolescent girls and women in several ways. For example, high levels of stress may be associated with absent or irregular menstrual cycles, more painful periods, and changes in the length of cycles.10
The effects of stress for Men
Stress may affect the normal biochemical functioning of the male reproductive system.11
Taking care of our Mind-body
- Start a new hobby or get creative! Try knitting, painting, or writing etc.
- Yoga is a form of moving meditation
- Try daily meditations. You can start slow, with 3 – 5 minutes a day.
- Body work like acupuncture or a message is a great way to relax the body and ease the mind.
- Taking a walk
- Talk therapy12