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Stress and its impact on your health

Everyone deals with stress at some time in their life. It’s a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension that can be debilitating at times. One of the leading causes for so many illnesses and diseases is stress. The causes for stress can be external elements that are environmental, psychological and social or internal elements like illnesses and medical procedures. When an individual feels stressed out, they instigate the "fight or flight" response in themselves, which is a complex reaction of neurologic and endocrinologic systems to protect the body from whatever is threatening it.

What starts as a spark can spread out into wildfire if left unchecked. Stress affects these systems and every other system connected to it. Studies from around the world show that men, women and children, people employed or unemployed, ones with family or alone all experience alarming levels of stress! In India, 84% of working, 70% of non-working individuals and 87% of millennials are suffering from stress!

Even though the rising levels of stress are problematic, nearly 75% of Indians do not feel comfortable talking to a professional about their stress. While the statistics show that many people suffer from the impacts of stress, they do not know how to handle them well by themselves. They tend to repress their feelings for a short period of time and when these bottled up emotions explode; it causes serious problems to their health, relationships, work or school. Some of the top reasons people cite for their stress include factors that are within and outside of their control like finance, family, relationships, heath, work, personal safety, traumatic events and futuristic fear.

Every day, people stay home from work, miss school, avoid people, go to the doctor or even die because of the effects of stress and it has affected people across all walks and ages of life. Stress is a costly affair all around the world. There are emotional, health and financial costs attached to it. The effects of stress on the body are vast! It affects almost all the organs of the body and if left untreated can cause chronic illnesses that could in turn be fatal for the individual.

Following are the organs affected by stress:

  • The muscles in the body tense up when the body is stressed out! Muscle tension is almost a reflex reaction to stress, guarding it against injury and pain.

  • The effects of stress on the respiratory system causes shortness of breath, rapid breathing, asthma attacks, hyperventilation, suffocation and panic attacks. This takes a toll on the lungs if it is not dealt with at the right time.

  • Chronic stress can contribute to long-term problems for the cardiovascular system, with elevated heart rates and blood pressure, which can lead to risk of hypertension, heart attacks and stroke.

  • Development of numerous physical and mental health conditions such as chronic fatigue, metabolic disorders like diabetes and obesity, depression and many immune disorders are a byproduct of unchecked stress.

  • Chronic stress can result in a long-term drain on the body and causes wear and tear on the body.

  • Women who experience stress come to find that their menstruation, pregnancy, sexual desire premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menopause is affected, along with the fact that it causes multiple diseases in the reproductive system.

  • Stress affects reproduction, sexual desires and causes serious diseases in the male reproductive system.

When it comes to the impacts of stress, the emotional costs outweigh the physical costs. Addressing them is where the change begins, to restore the peace, calmness and mental health that your body physically needs to heal itself. The emotional costs of stress incite anxiety, anger, and lack of focus, fatigue, irritability and depression - which can be avoided if the adequate measures are taken.

The Zen Mind helps you identify the challenges and the stressors that affect your daily life and find ways to help you best cope with improving your overall physical and mental well-being.

Schedule for an appointment with me, Aruna Kalaiselvi, today to live a stress-free and healthy life!

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