Stress – is a non-measurable and intangible phenomenon that happens inside our body both psychologically and physiologically. It is difficult to understand the level of stress that one goes through. Most of us are living a stressed life with our 9-5 jobs and we fail to do anything about the level of stress in our life because we never get to know the harm it does to our body. The mood swings, the hair fall, the weight gain, and the feeling of always being tired are all caused by stress. Nutritionists around the world widely say that balancing hormones is the key to a healthy and balanced life. Stress negatively affects our hormones and disrupts the way our body works.
Stress activates fight-or-flight response in our body by raising the cortisol levels; a type of hormone. The high cortisol levels divert energy from the digestive and reproductive system, increases the heart rate and breathing rate, and uses extra fuel from glycogen storage. Prolonged stress means our body is always in fight-or-flight response i.e. threatened.
Here is how our body reacts to this prolonged threatening:
- Weight Gain
If you have fat deposit in your mid-section and you are unable to lose it despite various efforts, it is clearly a sign of elevated cortisol level which is a result of stress. In the time of body crisis known as stress, our body believes it needs carbohydrates to be stored as a reserve, our appetite increases which lead to weight gain.
- Poor Digestion
Cortisol levels divert the energy from the digestive system and it leads to increased levels of hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) causing indigestion. It also causes IBS, ulcer in some and other hosts of digestive problems.
- Hypertension and Diabetes
It shouldn’t be surprising to know the long-term by-products of stress are high blood pressure and insulin levels. Stress makes us obese and along with stress one also faces the possibility of being diagnosed with diabetes.
- Lowered Immune System
Continuous stress weakens our defense mechanism; the immune system, as the body, finds it difficult to work under pressure for days and nights.
- Anxiety, Depression, Mood Disorders, and Mental Illness
Stress is a response to deal with negative emotions such as divorce, death or daily life instances. It acts as a vicious circle and increases to anxiety, depression, and other illnesses.
If you’re wondering how to deal with stress, the answer is simple – Smile. A smile can do wonders for our body and increase serotonin levels. Serotonin affects our mood, digestion, sleep, memory, and appetite. Good digestion and good sleep aids weight loss and helps us live a healthier and stress-free life.