Stress is an integral part of our lives. Whether it is coping with everyday challenges at work, financial concerns or relationship troubles, most of us experience stress, in some form or the other, at some point in our lives.
Stress influences our mood, affects our sense of well-being, behavior, and our overall health of our body. Stress not only makes us feel awful emotionally, but can also worsen or increase the risk of just about any health condition we can even think of!
Read on to know how stress can manifest in different ways. And sadly, it isn’t restricted by age, even children are affected by it!
When faced with stress, your mind deploys coping strategies based on what has worked in the past. Over time, these become imbibed as a trait. Displaying helplessness is also a trait that people use to get out of tricky situations. People will use aggression, dominance or develop a personality where they feign ignorance and avoid getting into conflict with others.
When you are in a constant state of stress, your metabolism slows down. ‘Cortisol’ – the stress hormone leads to central obesity, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Ayurvedic approach – Indulge in relaxation techniques, meditation, exercise and yoga. Reduce anxiety with therapeutic aromas and essential plant oils. Take some time off to do something you love.
Chronic stress increases cortisol levels which in turn slows down metabolism and increases cravings for salty, sweet and high-fat foods. Cortisol can collect fat from the blood and other storage places in the body and move it to the belly. This fat is more dangerous than fat stored in other areas of the body. Cortisol can also increase the size of individual fat cells.
Studies show that women with a high level of psychological stress had 80 percent greater risk of stillbirth than women who had an intermediate level of stress during pregnancy. Also, high-stress levels can result in premature birth and low birth weight and even lead to allergies and asthma later in life.
Stress is the most common cause of irregular periods. The stress hormone – Cortisol, has a direct impact on how much estrogen and progesterone (sex hormones), gets produced by the body. If you have too much cortisol in your bloodstream, the time and flow of your cycle could change. Also, as stress levels rise, there is a chance that your menstrual period will temporarily stop, a condition known as ‘secondary amenorrhea’.
When our hair turns grey, it is due to lowered amounts of melanin, and when hair is completely white, our hair lacks melanin altogether. Studies show that genotoxic stress, in the form of ultraviolet light and chemicals, damages our DNA and could cause the depletion of those melanocyte stem cells, which is the very reason of the growth of grey hair.
When dealing with stress, the body frequently craves precisely the foods that will exacerbate the condition most, such as salty, fatty, and sweet processed food to counteract the tension. These high-calorie foods cause the brain to release certain neurotransmitters which procure a temporary relief by weakening the stress response. Repetition of these reward-based stress eating models may lead to changes in the brain inducing compulsive overeating.
Recent research suggests that stressed children are at a risk for cognitive damage. This can affect your child’s academic performance and cause depression later in life. Stress hormones effectively undo the beneficial effects of enrichment and stunt brain development. High levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, are toxic to the brain.