The APA has warned the public of the long-term effects of always being stressed. According to reports, one-third of Americans live under severe stress, and half of them claim to have experienced higher levels of stress over the last five years.
Mental health experts are urging people to establish a better work-life balance and coping mechanisms to manage stress, as well as sufficient rest during the week.
Let’s look at some of the ways chronic stress affects your body:
The Respiratory System
When we’re under severe stress, we take shorter, harder breaths. For people with lung disease or asthma, shortness of breath can trigger an attack.
People with asthma dealing with high levels of stress may experience constrictions in the airway between their lungs and nose, causing breathing difficulties that may send them to the emergency room.
Those who hyperventilate due to stress may have a panic attack as a result.
The Gastrointestinal System
Most people don’t associate mental health problems with our digestive tract, but they’re directly connected. Our brain maintains constant communication with our gut through a combination of hormones and nerves.
When we’re stressed, the brain sends signals to the gastrointestinal system, telling it to stay alert. Our gut responds with pain, nausea, or the “butterflies” we feel when we’re nervous.
People with a nervous belly may experience constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting when they’re stressed; those who have chronic stress are prone to developing ulcers.
The Musculoskeletal system
Noticed how parts of your body start feeling heavy when you’re stressed? Our body responds to stress by stiffening our muscles to protect it from injury.
In most cases, our muscles will relax once stress levels go down. However, when we’re stressed continuously, the body feels the urge to keep its guards up, causing tension to build up in our muscles.
Tensed muscles lead to heaviness, stiffness, and pain in the neck, shoulders, and head. In more serious cases, headaches transform into migraines that may require medication.
Massage therapy relieves tension and helps with the musculoskeletal system by promoting blood circulation, cell and tissue repair, and regeneration.
Contact us to book an appointment at 910-229-3986.