Stress is the body’s natural response to an internal or external threat or high-pressure situation. It is extremely common and affects the vast majority of the population at one point or another. While most sufferers struggle with stress, others find it motivates them to balance the daily demands of work, home, and family life. But aside from impacting our mental state, it can also trigger a number of physical effects. Continue reading to find out what they are and how they can be managed.
It raises your body temperature
For a growing number of people of all ages, and young women in particular, stressful situations can trigger a spike in body temperature. This is known as psychogenic fever. Little research has been conducted on the phenomenon so far and it is relatively rare, but researchers have found that it is resistant to standard anti-fever medications. A combination of anti-anxiety medication and therapy has had far greater levels of success during treatment. When exposed to a traumatic event, sufferers of psychogenic fever have reported core body temperatures of up to 42 degrees Celsius. It has also been referred to as stress-induced hyperthermia due to its ability to manifest following immediate exposure to stressful situations.
It can trigger brain fog
The existence of brain fog, or mental fog, has been contested for decades. It is characterised by feelings of confusion, cloudiness, and forgetfulness. When it strikes, you may struggle to form a sense of mental clarity and be much more likely to make silly mistakes. But despite a vast majority of the population experiencing the effects of the syndrome at one point or another, it can be difficult to find out how to get rid of brain fog. Sufferers may also have difficulty remembering certain dates or events and even struggle to process basic information. Brain fog can be caused by a variety of conditions, but stress is one of the leading factors. Symptoms of brain fog include having trouble sleeping, suffering from headaches on a regular basis, having low energy or fatigue, susceptibility to mood swings, and irritability. If you find yourself suffering from impaired brain function and fuzzy thinking, it may benefit you to learn how to get rid of brain fog.
It can cause weight gain
If you are struggling to lose weight, your stress levels may be to blame. According to a recent study, researchers have associated higher BMIs and waist circumferences with higher levels of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone responsible for metabolic rate and fat storage. Stress can also lead to chronic overeating. As a result, if you are consistently plagued by stress, your cortisol levels are likely to be elevated and you probably find it increasingly difficult to lose weight. You are also much more likely to skip meals if you are stressed. This can cause you to overeat and crave sugar much more often than you usually would. Sugar supplies your body with the immediate energy it needs to function on a daily basis. By reaching for sugary snacks when you are stressed, you may end up feeling worse. Fast food may satisfy hunger cravings in the moment but can make you feel tired and sluggish in the long run.
It triggers breakouts
Stress is one of the leading causes of breakouts. If you have woken up to a sudden breakout on your face, you can probably attribute it to an ongoing stressful situation in your life. For example, an upcoming exam, work deadline, or big house move are all common breakout triggers. Stress can also cause your body to produce excess cortisol which communicates with your glands to produce excess oil. Oily skin can lead to a number of additional skin problems such as acne and dermatitis. By lowering stress levels as much as possible, you can protect your skin from the effects of high-pressure situations and prevent breakouts from ruining an important day. There are also a number of steps you can take to limit the effects of stress on your skin. A solid skincare routine, regular exercise, and ensuring you get a minimum of eight hours sleep a night can all have a positive impact on your skin regardless of how stressed you may be.
It can disrupt cancer treatment
While stress materialises as a result of high mental or emotional pressure, it can also affect how your body heals on a physical level. Research has uncovered how patients suffering from chronic emotional stress are less responsive to a number of cancer treatments and immunotherapies. As a result, cancer treatment can be disrupted and even stopped in its tracks. As well as this, there have also been links found between inflammation and cancer. Whilst research so far is limited, it has uncovered how chronic stress may contribute to the onset of cancer. In the simplest of terms, it creates the perfect conditions for precancerous cells to grow and flourish. This is due to the fact that cortisol triggers various inflammatory responses in your body. If you are under a constant state of stress or high pressure, those triggers are unlikely to switch off. This could lead to chronic inflammation and has the potential to develop into cancer or cancer metastasis over time.
It can affect fertility
The process of trying for a baby is difficult and anxiety-inducing enough without any added stress. Research has proven that women suffering from stress and high pressure are 13% less likely to conceive naturally than those that don’t sweat the small stuff. This is due to a number of stress-related symptoms such as poor sleep, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, excess caffeine, too much alcohol, and smoking on a regular basis. By making an effort to remove yourself from stressful situations and learning how to manage stress, you can improve your chances of becoming pregnant. With relaxation the key to conception, it pays to be calm and level-headed during all aspects of your life whilst you are trying for a baby.
It makes you prone to injury and illness
Consistently high stress levels can have a negative impact on your immune system. With studies confirming the ability of stress mediators to pass from the brain into the blood, you may struggle to fight off injury or illness and even prevent it from occurring in the first place. It can also trigger increased muscle tension and inhibit coordination which increases your risk of injury. This is one of the main reasons why athletes practice and receive stress management techniques on a regular basis. Over time, if players are educated on how to manage stress in their personal and professional lives, injury rates are likely to plummet during playing season. If you rely on your body to carry you through a game, it may benefit you to work on your stress management skills.
Stress is one of the most common, and nerve-wracking, human responses. As well as having a dramatic impact on your mental health, it can also trigger a wide range of side-effects for your physical health. For example, it can raise your body temperature, trigger brain fog, cause weight gain, trigger breakouts, disrupt cancer treatment, affect fertility, and make you prone to injury and illness.