What Does Stress Do To Your Body?

Oh gosh I’m so stressed. Ugh it’s the
worst. I feel so sick. Hey guys Julia here for DNews Stress is really really awful for your body.
You know when you get scared, embarrassed or anxious – your face flushes and you get
hot and sweaty? This is called psychogenic fever. Well your body temperature actually
increases when you’re stressed, it’s warming up the muscles in case you need to get the
hell out of dodge. Most of the short term effects are the result of this flight or fight
response. The Adrenal gland in your brain releases the
hormones in response to some stressor. This in turn releases glucose into the bloodstream
to power you up, ready to take on a threat. It suppresses your digestion and your immune
system to save energy for hightailing it away from a bear. But now a days we aren’t threatened so much
by bears, but school, work, and family matters stress us out just the same. All those good
things cortisol did to save us from the bear, does bad things us when we’re faced with
these chronic stressors we can’t run away from. One of the hormones, cortisol, is called the
stress hormone.This hormone does a lot of things. It affects things like blood pressure,
metabolism, and immune reactions such as inflammation. Basically chronic stress makes your body continually
release cortisol. Normally this hormone keeps inflammation in check, but after a while your
cells get burnt out and become less receptive to the hormone. Inflammation then kind of
runs amok. And causes its own host of problems. Inflammation can lead to heart disease and
obesity and is now being implicated in some mental health disorders like depression and
anxiety. Inflammation can also damage your DNA. A recent study linked stress and DNA
damage. The study, Proceedings of the National Academy
of Sciences, found that stress damages your telomeres. Telomeres are often compared to
that plastic tip on your shoelaces. They sit on the ends of your chromosomes to keep them
from unraveling. As cells divide and DNA replicates, these telomeres shorten throughout your life.
Eventually leading to cell death. The erosion of telomeres is a pretty good
indicator of someone’s health. Smokers often have shorter telomeres than nonsmokers, for
example. In this study the researchers found that displaced Indian villagers had shorter
telomeres than other villagers who didn’t go through the stress of relocating. Which
is similar to other studies on the effects of stress on telomeres. But it’s not just having your entire village
moved. The American Psychological Association found that Americans are most stressed about
work, money and the economy. Does this sound like you? If you are chronically stressed there is some
hope. Being socially connected helps. One study published Social & Personality Psychology
Compass in 2011 found that “People who have supportive, close relationships have lower
levels of systemic inflammation compared to people who have cold, unsupportive and conflict-ridden
relationships.” Some studies show that mindfulness based practices,
like yoga and meditation, can reduce stress. Being mindful means you accept each moment
as it is without judgment. Seeing something as neither good or bad, it just IS. And it’s
really hard to do. It definitely takes some training, but it’s worth it. One study published
in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine reaffirmed previous studies that mindfulness decreases
distress and increases quality of life. So go get your yoga on so you don’t die! What are you most stressed about? How do you
deal with it? Let us know in the comments below! …

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