How Does Stress Change Your Body?
Stress changes your body hormones and can change your overall health in some very destructive ways. Our stress response that is built into us, generally, is a very good thing to have. When you are presented with a threat to your survival, your nervous system dumps stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol into your system. These hormones rev up your body to respond to this very threat to your survival. It gives you what you need to hopefully, successfully deal with this crisis. In this situation, these stress changes in your body are highly beneficial and literally can save your life.
Stress Hormones Just Want To Help
As a result of the release of these hormones, stress changes your body in a few ways:
- Your heart pound faster in order to increase the blood flow and oxygen available to take action.
- Muscles tighten to get ready to spring into action.
- Blood pressure rises.
- You breathe a little faster.
- There is a sharpening of your senses overall.
The combination of the effect of all these stress hormones being released in your body increases your strength and stamina, speeds up your reaction time and enhances your focus. In a nutshell, it prepares your body to either fight the problem head on or get the heck out of dodge, which ever is most appropriate for you in any given situation
Survival Would Not Be Possible Without The Stress Response
This is a great thing to have built in. It is part of our survival instincts. Without it, we probably would not survive very long in life. Many of us would not even survive childhood had we not had this wonderful system in place. It protects us on many levels and in many circumstances. You don’t have to face an African lion to have this response kick in. It kicks in even on a daily basis sometimes when ever you sense danger. It could be avoiding a car accident, breaking up a dog fight or grabbing your toddler before he falls toward the edge of that coffee table. There are numerous scenarios where this can kick in. It gives you the strength, focus and quick action you need to either “fight or take flight”.
The stress response can even help meet other types of challenges. Maybe it is a scary speech or presentation you have to give at work. Maybe a tense competitive event where you need heightened focus to perform. It can even help motivate you to do well on a test.
We often talk about stress changes in the body as bad, but as you see, stress changes in your body are literally life saving at times and at other times, quite helpful. Stress in the proper balance can help us in many ways. And don’t forget that even positive events in life can cause stress, like getting married or buying a new house. These ultimately positive events set off the stress response as there is some form of adaptation that is required.
All that being said, the reason so many people talk about the negative stress changes in the body is that for so many of us, we have crossed the line with the amount of stress we endure each day. We all deal with stress in our unique way, some of us have learned to manage stress a little better and of course, it depends on the stress event itself and our feelings toward it.
A Funny Motivational Video On Attitude To Help With A Perspective On Stress
A Stressful Balance
If the balance of stress tips to too much, the stress changes your body in some very unhealthy ways, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally and even socially. It can really take the zest out of life.
Stress can come at us from external sources such as major life changes, challenges in family life, relationship issues, financial stress, etc. It can also come at us from within; worrying too much, talking bad about ourselves or a general negative attitude toward things.
Even though we all may handle the stress in our lives a little bit differently, there are certain foundational habits that increase our chances to successfully manage our stress levels. And some additional habits that can help us get better at it throughout our lives. Check out the article on stress management tips and make the stress work for your body and not against it.