How Stress Affects Your Body

Tags: sleeplessness,stress,stress relief,

Stress is something we all experience yet deal with in different ways. Numerous studies through the years have demonstrated how stress affects us, as well as attempting to help us understand why we get stressed and also providing coping strategies for both reducing stress and the impact it has on us.

Stress can have a dramatic effect on our bodies. What are some of the main effects and how can we deal with these?

Stress and the Skin

Although stress can have a dramatic impact on the inside of your body, it is often the damage done to the exterior that can lead to experiencing the knock-on effects of stress. Stress is known to dehydrate the skin; not because when you have things on your mind you forget to drink water regularly, but because when your body is experiencing stress it takes blood away from the skin and other peripheral organs in order to provide your muscles with more energy.

This is a natural bodily response, and is part of our bodies adapting to stress or fear by providing us with the energy and adrenaline to choose ‘fight or flight.’ However, when stress is on-going and continuing, the body is unable to, and does not, adapt back to its previous state. This is supposed to be a short term internal coping strategy the body uses to deal with stress quickly and effectively.

Remaining in a stressful state means your skin remains a low priority for your body, and as such it will remain dehydrated and start to affect your appearance.

Stress and Your Face

Our face is the part of our body that experiences the highest level of exposure to the elements. As a result, when our skin becomes dehydrated, the effects can be more dramatic and pronounced. Dehydration of the skin can lead to wrinkles appearing quicker on our faces. Although there are some excellent moisturizing products and treatments available for our faces, these are often not enough to hide the telltale signs of stress.

Having more wrinkles on our face can lead to us looking older than we are and cause us confidence issues regarding our appearance.

Stress and Sleeplessness

The way stress affects our ability to have a good night’s sleep can have knock-on effects across our lives. Our heightened state of alertness when under stress means we struggle to wind down at bedtime, particularly as our stress might mean we’re checking our phone or tablet device, or be continually working until we literally cannot physically stay awake any longer. The quality of sleep we have when under stress is also affected, while when we wake up in the morning we’re immediately thinking about whatever it is that causes us stress, and so the whole cycle begins again.

Stress can quickly escalate when it affects your sleep, as you are aware of how tired you are, you are probably starting to think about how you look, and you feel like the only way to end the stress is to push yourself even harder in order to deal with it quicker. All this usually leads to is further stress.

Stress Relief Options

A huge problem with stress is that it can prevent you from feeling like you are able to do anything about it. While it might seem difficult to be able to find time to put good habits into place, or to remove yourself from a stressful situation in order to take time out, if you’re able to do so this will represent a big step in dealing with your stress. You will also find you establish some good lifestyle traits that will help you avoid heightened states of stress in the future.

Some of the stress relief options you should consider are:

  • Having a ‘lifestyle plan’ that ensures you continue to eat healthily and look after yourself during periods of stress
  • Researching which foods actively work to reduce your stress levels, and that can prevent you becoming stressed in the first place

  • Buying a herbal stress remedy; solutions that you can take when you need them as well as on a regular basis are widely available

  • Spending a short time each day practicing relaxation techniques, then learning to recognize when you are stressed so you can put these into practice

  • Take some time to recognize what causes you stress, and examine how you can ease this

If you are stressed in a particular situation that repeats itself, such as at work, you can do things like:

  • Ensuring you always take breaks and take them away from your desk; go for a walk at lunchtime, or sit in a nearby park if possible

  • Take clear time out from your job. Avoid checking emails at home in the evenings or at weekends, and don’t take work home with you

  • Look at techniques that can help reduce your stress levels while at work. This might include not continually checking your emails, or moving to a new desk where you can concentrate better

Dealing with the Lingering Effects of Stress

Stress is a common factor in all our lives. Many people are fortunate enough to be able to work through their stress and change their lives so when they do become stressed it is dealt with quickly and effectively, using our bodies coping mechanisms in the way they were built to work. However, even those who have learned to deal successfully with stress can hold the legacy of when they weren’t so good at it. This might include wrinkles, tired looking eyes, or even weight gain if their lifestyle was either a cause or effect of the stress.

Although a new found positivity and the ability to cope with stress will help us look and feel better over time, we can access additional help to rid us of the legacy of a stressful past. This might include looking into Botox injections, a facelift, or Bariatric surgery. For anyone in this situation but unable to afford these procedures, MacCredit can help to fund the costs of treatment. Call 1300 884 355 to find out how we can help.

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