Stress seems like a very small word but according to the American Medical Association it is the leading cause of over 60 per cent of all human diseases and health issues. A little stress is good for the body as it helps stimulate the body’s immune function. When the stress stays in the body and takes a toll on one’s emotions is when one needs to look at their lifestyle and try to manage it quickly. Chronic or long term stress is linked to varied health issues ranging from hormonal imbalance, insomnia and metabolic syndromes like weight gain, cancer, heart issues, etc.
Stress increases cortisol levels (stress hormone) in the body. In normal conditions, if one is stressed about a situation (panic/fear) cortisol levels go up. The result is an increase in heart beat with the heart pumping blood faster in order to circulate it throughout the body, especially at the extremities. After one has calmed down the cortisol levels reduce and the heartbeat and blood flow are normalised. An individual in constant chronic state provides no time for the heart to rest and slow down the heartbeat or the blood flow, which puts the heart at stake and cause various heart related issues.
High cortisol levels reduce various hormones that are important for bodily function. Cortisol suppresses the functioning of the thyroid gland in chronic condition and indirectly makes one’s metabolism become sluggish. Being constantly stressed leads to weight gain. Secondly cortisol also suppresses the production of leptin which is the satiety hormone. With leptin resistance it is impossible to regularise meal portions which leads to weight gain.
Stress also affects insulin. Chronic stress and high levels of cortisol causes insulin resistance in the body. This leads to deprivation of nutrition to the cells and excess fat deposition around the belly. As we all know belly fat is stubborn and leads to various conditions like diabetes, endometriosis, PCOS, etc.
These are just a few examples of how stress impacts our day to day life and well being. So what do we have to do to reduce this stress? Will it stay with us? Can we control the stress levels?
The answers to all your queries are very easy. The ways to reduce stress are completely in our hands, we need to take charge of our health, mind, body and overall well being to reduce stress.
The best way to deal with stress is to follow deep breathing exercises. When we take deep breaths the oxygen suppresses cortisol levels in the body and helps with managing the stress well.
Take some me time and focus on your breathing pattern to control your stress.
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