You could ask a number of random people if they feel stressed, and the majority of them will probably say yes. Most people typically feel stressed out the most when they’re at work or school, managing finances, or when dealing with certain relationships. Although small amounts of stress are beneficial, most people are chronically stressed and this presents itself in different ways. The most notable symptom is mental fatigue, but stress often presents itself in many physical forms.
Obesity is almost always associated with excessive eating of unhealthy foods and a lack of exercise, but stress can also contribute to it. The stress hormone cortisol causes fat to be stored in the abdomen, and it can also cause cravings for unhealthy foods, which also leads to more fat storage in the abdomen. Stress can also lead to fatigue and not wanting to exercise, which also contributes to obesity.
One way to combat both obesity and stress at the same time is moderate exercise. When you’re stressed, going to a gym to work out can seem very overwhelming and many people may not be motivated to do it. The good news is that you can start off with simple exercises, such as walking or yoga— both of which are still effective forms of stress-relieving and weight-loss exercises.
#2: Heart Disease
Chronic stress can increase the risk of heart issues. This could be because stress can raise blood pressure and cause cholesterol to be released into the bloodstream. Another reason for stress causing heart disease can be the fact that stress itself leads to unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking and poor diet, which in turn, causes heart problems.
One way to prevent heart disease is to become more conscious of what you’re eating. It’s important to incorporate heart-healthy foods into your diet, such as oatmeal, quinoa, chia seeds, avocado, and salmon. You can also try therapy to seek relief from your stress.
#3: Gastrointestinal Problems
If you frequently experience digestive issues, stress could be the main culprit. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), chronic heartburn, and even irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be caused by stress. Many people who have these issues become dependent on antacids such as Zantac to relieve their symptoms. These antacids can end up causing more issues, as some people have received financial compensation after taking Zantac and developing certain cancers.
A balanced and varied diet and regular, moderate exercise can help alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms. Ginger is also an excellent herb used in many cultures to help combat digestive issues. This should alleviate the need to constantly use OTC (over-the-counter) medications. Of course, you should always consult with your doctor to determine the best form of treatment.
Stress can also cause headaches, anxiety, depression, and it can even speed up the aging process, both internally and externally. These are some of the more well-known side effects of stress, but all side effects can be eliminated with some of the same coping mechanisms. Meditation is a popular technique that many people use to help ease their symptoms of stress. Other techniques include exercising, engaging in relaxing activities, aromatherapy, and traditional forms of therapy. Different techniques work for different people, so you may need to try a few before you find the one that works best for you.
Stress can manifest itself in a variety of forms, so it’s important to consult with your primary care physician if you think that any concerning symptoms you’re experiencing are due to stress, or another condition. Also, make sure to live an active and healthy lifestyle to help reduce both stress and the likelihood of developing serious illnesses. Drinking plenty of water, eating foods rich in various nutrients, and being physically active are the foundation to keeping your body healthy and protecting it from the effects of stress.