Feeling Stressed? 3 Ways it’s Affecting Your Body

Stress makes it feel like you’re losing your mind, but what’s worse it that it affects your body. The link between health and negative emotions is strong, and when psychological or spiritual pressures build, your body takes notice. Here are three surprising ways emotional stress may be taking its toll.

Hair Loss

Most hair loss is a matter of genetics, but two stress-related disorders may be responsible for the locks in your shower drain. First is a disorder called telogen effluvium, a scalp condition in which the natural rhythm of hair growth is disrupted, resulting in premature shedding. Prolonged emotional or physical stress is one several factors known to cause this disorder, but the good news is that when it subsides, hair may regrow within a few months without intervention.

The second condition, alopecia areata, is more serious. It’s an autoimmune disorder in which your body’s own defenses identify hair follicles as a threat, causing white blood cells to attack. Hair loss related to alopecia areata often requires medical treatment, and in some cases, it could be permanent.

Aches and Pains Around the Body

Stress causes muscles to tighten. It’s part of your body’s fight-or-flight response, and when it happens every day, the tension in your body will eventually cause pain. Common sites for discomfort include the neck, shoulders, and lower back, and remedies encompass stress-relief techniques and treatments such as those that would be used to alleviate soreness after a muscle injury. Hot tubs have shown to have a variety of health benefits, including helping with relaxation and relief for common aches and pains. 

When dealing with particularly sensitive areas of pain, such as aches in the neck, try to apply heat to the area. A warm rice pack or heating pad helps improve circulation to the affected area and speeds healing.

A Weakened Immune System

When your body is stressed, your brain tries to defend it by releasing a powerful cascade of hormones including cortisol, which is a glucocorticoid made by the adrenal glands. Nicknamed “the stress hormone,” it’s vital for life, but in excess, it fools your body into thinking the body is in a constant state of emergency. Too much of this for too long can lead to adrenal fatigue. This results in a weakened immune system.

Stress isn’t always bad. It can be energizing and can help you focus on meeting important goals, but it was never intended to be a permanent state. When too much stress builds, your body will let you know. You just have to listen and take appropriate action to reduce or eliminate the stress.

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