As we wrap up Stress Awareness Month, we wanted to share some knowledge about this increasingly common issue. It’s important to remember that stress does not just impact our sleep or mood – it can have a negative effect on a range of aspects of our physical, emotional, and mental health. We are dealing with an inordinate level of stress from a variety of sources: work, home life, family members’ illnesses, pressure related to job security, and upcoming bills all contribute to this issue.
When stressful situations persist for an extended period of time, they can cause long-term consequences. This type of stress is referred to as chronic and has been linked to various physical and mental health issues. Excessive levels of tension over the course of weeks or months can increase a person’s risk of developing related problems. Therefore, it’s important to identify signs of chronic stress and take steps to reduce them.
It’s important to be mindful of the effects of stress. To assist in reducing stress, here are 5 key facts you should know:
- Stress can worsen acne: Various studies have indicated a link between stress and acne. Separately, other research suggests that when feeling stressed people touch their face more often which could result in an increase in acne breakouts. In addition, high-stress levels can trigger the release of hormones that may cause inflammation and exacerbate existing pimples
- Stress can increase your risk of illness and infection: Stress can have major impacts on our physical and mental health, with one study demonstrating a weakened immune response in older adults given the flu vaccine due to chronic stress. A summary of previous studies reinforced this finding, concluding that psychological stress suppresses the body’s natural immunity, leading to increased risk for various illnesses and conditions.
- Stress can leave its mark on your gut health: Psychological stress can have an adverse effect on gut health. Research has found strong evidence that stress can be a contributor to the development of irritable bowel syndrome, as well as issues such as constipation. A 2010 study also indicated that children exposed to stressful events tend to have higher rates of constipation.
- Memory and cognitive skills may decline if we experience chronic stress: Stress can have a negative impact on memory and cognitive skills, leading to issues like difficulty recalling information or making decisions. Stress may overstimulate your brain, resulting in short-term memory loss, as well as discharge hormones that impede the formation of new memories. If a person suffers from chronic stress, they are also more likely to experience long-term reductions in the size of their hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory storage.
- Chronic stress has been linked to decreased longevity: Chronic stress can have a significant impact on longevity, as people with anxiety disorders have a significantly increased risk of mortality compared to those without any anxiety disorders. Furthermore, a global meta-analysis indicates that 5 million deaths each year are associated with mood and anxiety disorders—which is why it’s important to consider ways to decrease your stress levels if you find yourself in constant worry.
Stress is a part of life, although it can have negative impacts on both your mental and physical health if it is experienced for an extended period of time. Fortunately, there are some effective strategies for relieving stress, such as diaphragmatic breathing which involves inhaling through the nose and exhaling slowly. This practice can help reduce your pulse rate and blood pressure levels.
You can read about other ways to relieve stress here.