How Stress Affects the Body

There is still an ongoing debate between the medical and psychological fields as to the real effects of stress in individuals. The most common effects of stress based on the studies are rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, increase in the level of blood sugar and problems in digestion. These are just few of the physiological effects of stress.

The psychological effects of stress are equally significant. When stress lasts for longer periods of time, individuals experiencing stress will show noticeable changes in their attitude. They become irritable. The persons become impatient and quick to anger. They also get to experience unreasonable fear of the future, making them less capable of coping with the present. At the same time, people who are stressed usually have a hard time concentrating and it becomes so difficult for them to arrive at a decision.

When we are stressed, the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands release Adrenocorticotropic Hormones (ACTH). These hormones stimulate the adrenal gland, located in the kidney area, to produce cortisol. Cortisol level changes within the day. The excess cortisol contributes to the flight or fight response when we are under stress. Now, this can lead to muscle tension, stomach and bowel irregularity. Some studies suggest that if this condition persists, it can affect the immune system in a negative way. A weak immune system can contribute to susceptibility to colds and other virus related illnesses.

When we are experiencing high levels of stress, we tend to have a short attention span. We also become less objective and our other cognitive functions deteriorate. Negative thoughts hamper us from focusing on everyday challenges in a rational way. As a consequence, we experience feelings of irritability, unreasonable anger, and uncalled-for feelings of discrimination.These episodes often lead to depression, lack of interest, sullenness, heightened fear of failure and general feeling of misfortune. Although these conditions happen in extreme cases, they are unavoidable.

What usually influences these effects is the conflict we have within ourselves. When we start feeling that we are incapable of solving the problem, we lose confidence in our own selves. Eventually, this feeling of helplessness and hopelessness will prove to us how incapable we are, not because we are really incapable, but our worsened condition made us helpless.

Before stress even sets in, we have to start doing something about it.

  • First, we have to focus on what is causing us stress.
  • Next, we have to have a realistic evaluation of the problems.
  • Lastly, we need to face these problems head on with much confidence.

Stress, in fact, can be relieved before the effects can even affect us. It is unwise to ignore it and in the end suffer the consequences when it has become a chronic one.