We commonly hear people saying that we are living in stressful times. While some serious situations like a financial burden or a member of the family suffering from a disease could lead to long-term stress, we constantly feel stressed out. Deadlines, projects, traffic jams and a work-life imbalance contribute to stress. Physical and mental stress puts the body in a fight mode and this leads to a series of events in the body. So what exactly happens when you get stressed out?
Stress causes whole body deterioration and here is how.
When we get stressed, stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline are released.
Cortisol enhances our brain’s use of glucose. In stressful conditions our blood sugar level goes up. In cases of prolonged stress, constantly elevated levels of blood sugar may lead to diabetes.
In addition cortisol gears body’s repair mechanism and supresses non-essential functions like digestive system , reproductive system and regular growth process.
Adrenaline of the other hand boosts energy along with increasing blood pressure and heart rate.
Once the body feels that the stress is relieved, hormone levels return to normal, heart rate and blood pressure return to baseline levels and the system resumes their regular functions.
The problem with stress is twofold. Constant and prolonged stress leads to elevated blood sugar, blood pressure and heart rate. Also our reaction to stress is important. Some people smoke or take a drink to relieve stress which only further compounds the problem. Healthier options are yoga, exercise, meditation or even reading a book and listening to music.