Stress is considered to be the most pernicious factor that leads to early death and poor health.
The most stressed-out people are at a greatest risk of premature death. In fact, it isn’t only major life stresses, such as job loss or divorce, which can kill you; but it is also how you react to everyday stresses, such as traffic jams.
How Does Stress Affect Your Body?
In case of acute stress, your body start releasing stress hormones like cortisol, which prepare your body to flee or fight the stressful situation.
In addition, this elevates your blood flow and heart rate, causes your lungs to take in a higher amount of oxygen, and temporarily suppresses parts of your immune system, thus lowering your inflammatory response to microorganisms and any other foreign invader.
Chronic stress dramatically elevates the levels of cortisol, thus triggering high levels of inflammation. This can have a negative impact on your immune system, memory, and blood pressure.
Moreover, inflammation is also a major culprit of almost all diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
Chronic Stress Plays a Role in PCOS
Stress has also been associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome. PCOS is a condition triggered by increased male sex hormones, known as androgens, which have a negative effect on a woman’s weight, fertility, menstrual cycles, and more.
In addition, this could be particularly true in case you:
- Have below normal or normal weight and you don’t suffer from insulin resistance;
- Don’t experience cystic ovaries;
- Undereat and overtrain to enhance your physique.
Stress causes your body to create many hormones, including ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) that causes the adrenals to create stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.
Furthermore, ACTH also induces the secretion of androgen hormones, such as androstenedione. This hormone is actually one of the 2 main androgenic hormones that cause the symptoms of PCOS in women.
Stress Could Also Raise the Male Sex Hormones in Women
Insulin resistance is another risk factor for PCOS. Moreover, keeping your nonfiber carb intake below 50g daily can significantly help. Also, stress plays a significant role here.
Those women that experience chronic stress are at a higher risk of raised ACTH and androgens. That’s not all, their hormones could also begin to react intensely to a stressful situation.
Of course, there are a lot of women whose PCOS symptoms are triggered by physical inactivity, poor diet, and excessive intake of refined sugars and carbohydrates.
It Also Affects the Way Fat Is Accumulated in the Body
Difficulty losing weight and weight gain are a quite common problem related to stress. Additionally, stress-related weight gain often includes an elevation in abdominal fat, i.e., the most dangerous kind of fat, because it can raise your likelihood of cardiovascular disease.
Furthermore, stress affects the manner fat is accumulated in your body due to the hormones your body creates during stressful situations. Recent research has proven that chronic stress could cause the body to create betatrophin, i.e., a protein that helps block an enzyme, which helps break down body fat.
Good Resilience Could Reduce the Negative Effect of Stress
Keep in mind that the way you manage stress determines whether it will contribute to health issues later on. Namely, the stress reaction needs to dissipate quickly after the perceived danger has gone away.
Experts use the term resilience for this because it is your body’s ability to quickly return to normal, emotionally and physiclly, after stressful situations.
Some experts claim that people that are more resilient know how to listen to their body. Specifically, in an experiment, Special Forces soldiers and elite athletes were placed in a machine for brain scanning while wearing face masks, which made it hard to breathe.
The results showed that the participants could closely observe the signals from their body suggesting rising panic, and inhibit their physical response. Although they were completely mindful of their biological stress response, they did not overreact.
That’s not all, “normal” people were also included in the same experiment later. Moreover, the participants whose scores showed high resilience experienced a similar brain activity to the elite athletes and soldiers.
But, the participants whose scores showed low resilience actually reacted in a different way. As the face masks they were wearing threatened to close, they showed little activity in those parts of the brain that observe signals from the body. Furthermore, when they had trouble breathing, they experienced high activity in parts of the brain, which elevated physiological arousal.
They did not actually pay too much attention to what was really happening within their bodies because they simply waited for breathing to become hard and overreacted when it happened.
The researchers concluded that these brain responses could undermine resilience, since they could make it harder for the body to return to a calm state.
However, they pointed out that spending several minutes on a daily basis in focused breathing can help you manage stress. You should also focus on breathing in and breathing out without any other reaction. This may help enhance your reaction in any stressful situation.
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