Why Stress Management is So Important for Your Health

As you watch the second hand on your watch tick ever closer to a deadline that you know you’re not going to meet, your stress levels start rising. When you sit in traffic, argue with a loved one, or lie awake dreading the next day at work, your body enters a state of stress.

You’ve heard people saying that stress is bad for you, and this is really true when you look at its potentially adverse effects on the entire body. Learning to manage your stress can save your life when you think about it.

Here’s what a failure to manage stress does to the body:

Your muscles

The fight or flight response generated by the release of stress hormones when the brain senses the need for a heightened state of alertness causes your muscles to tense. The muscles relax as the stress eases and return to their regular state. However, persistent stress does not give the muscles the opportunity to untense, leaving them in knots, which are painful.

Tight muscles in the back and neck lead to tension headaches, which are treated with pain medication. Using pain medication on a chronic basis to treat these headaches is treating the symptom, not the cause, and it potentially dangerous because they can be dependency-forming. 

More people are turning to products from companies like vaporizerchief.com to help them relieve the pain more naturally.

The endocrine system

Endocrine system regulates the production of hundreds of hormones from different glands in the body. Among them are the adrenal glands, which produce adrenaline and cortisol when the hypothalamus in the brain detects a threat that requires a response.

Upon the release of the stress hormones, blood is pumped in greater quantities to organs, such as the heart, and other areas, such as the muscular system. After the threat has passed, stress hormone levels should return to normal at the command of the hypothalamus. However, this doesn’t happen when the presence of the stressor is constant.

The cardiovascular system

When adrenaline and cortisol enter the bloodstream, the heart starts pumping faster because of the increased blood supply. The heart needs to work harder to handle the volume of blood, so it beats more frequently and powerfully.

The increased blood flow to and from the heart places the arteries and veins under pressure, causing high blood pressure, or escalating already high blood pressure to dangerous levels. Hypertension is a well-known cause of heart attacks and strokes.

The respiratory system

Your breathing speeds up when you experience stress to allow your lungs to oxygenate the increased blood flow to the heart. That’s why you are encouraged to take deep breaths when you feel stressed.

However, for people with pre-existing respiratory conditions like emphysema or asthma, breathing can be disrupted by the onset of stress. A lot of asthmatics find themselves reaching for their pump when they’re feeling stressed for this very reason.

The digestive system

As soon as your body perceives a threat to its safety, a rush of glucose enters the bloodstream. It is intended to give you an energy boost as you fend off the danger. But if you don’t act to neutralize the threat, the glucose remains in your system, and it needs to be metabolized. Your body might not be able to do this quickly enough, which increases your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Stress also affects how your body digests the food you eat. The digestive system is comprised of many processes that break the food down, absorb it, and dispose of waste. Once it is disrupted, it is possible to have diarrhea, constipation, nausea, or vomiting.