"You Have Nothing To Be Stressed About" | The Effects Of Stress On The Body

It seems that my anonymous messager is actually doing wonders for my content, last time it was a post on bloating, today it is a post on stress- it seems that every second message I get that I assume is intended to be rude is actually a blessing in the form of "hey I can write a post about that!" so, cheers for that one anon- like you are a little bit pissing me off but at the same time you are helping me so, whatcha gonna do?

The message this time was along the lines of telling me that I have nothing to be stressed about, that I am just saying I am stressed/ anxious/ depressed for attention, that I am entitled, blah blah whatever else. I wish I had screenshotted the message before deleting it just so I could use it in this post and be factually correct about what I was messaged, but that was kind of the gist of it. I think this message was in retaliation to this post which was kind of a life update type post, bit of a late retaliation but none the less. I obviously don't have to justify why I am stressed and what is going on in my life for me to be as stressed as I am- but just know what while someone may look like they have things pretty easy and they've got their shit together- it is not always the case. Please remember that people keep up appearances and that just because you're opinion is that they have things easy going, behind facades it can very well be a different story, just something to keep in mind.

I said that I don't have to justify myself however- this is a personal blog and I do like to share things with you. I have been very open from the start and one (or a few, I'm not sure) anonymous people are not going to stop me writing what I want to write.

At the moment I am just a very overwhelmed shell of a person- there seems to be a million and one things going on and the world just seems to keep throwing hurdles at me. Ultimately I know that what is going to happen will happen, and I will learn from everything that does happen but it doesn't stop all the stress sticking with me.

One of my biggest stresses currently is that the house we are renting is now up for sale, and while there have only been a few people come through and look at the house- every time they do I feel like crawling into bed for a few days and not coming out. I get so anxious having people that I don't know coming and looking through my stuff, like I am well aware that they're probably just looking at the actual house, but home is my safe place and having random people I don't know in my space makes me unbelievably uncomfortable to the point I often have to sit outside while they look through. Once the stress of them looking through the actual house is over, it is replaced with 'are they going to buy the house?' 'where am I going to live?' 'are we going to be left homeless?'. Because look, the reality is we live in a small town and there are not many (((nice))) houses for rent that are going to fit all of our shit. I mean I spend a bit of time at home, being that I do a lot of the blog side of stuff from home, so where we live needs to be somewhere I like, and want to spend my time. Finding that place again is going to be ridiculously hard, but obviously it needs to be done.

Another thing that I think is stressing me out is just how full on the past few weeks have been. On top of all the actual real life events going on, I found myself in yet another bad place mentally in terms of exercise and eating. The guilt of not exercising and counting calories that I had got past a few months ago has slowly crept its way back in, putting me in a bad place. I stress if the first thing I do in the morning isn't working out, but that has been something that makes me feel good so I continue to do it. The unhealthy part happened when I began to count calories again because I was watching the calories and getting stressed if I thought I was eating too much- to the point that I was forcing myself to workout  twice a day in order to burn more calories. Which was also contributing to the exhaustion factor.

I've given you ways to de-stress before, so this isn't going to be another one of those posts. Instead I want to educate you on the effects that stress actually has on the body, because I think more often than not some of these are overlooked, we put the symptoms down to something else to explain them away, but it is not always the case. I know that when I don't want to admit to being stressed out so I push all the stress down and attempt to bock it out, I will see the signs of the stress bubbling and explain them away to myself, I'm sure we all do it.

Not only does stress effect your mind- it has a physical effect on your body too. Think about it- in times of stress our body goes into fight or flight mode, prolonged occurrences of this fight or flight mode is without a doubt is not good for us. However, while we perceive stress as a bad thing, in small doses stress can actually be beneficial to us. The fight or flight mode which is controlled by the central nervous system (CNS) can help you cope with a potentially serious situation.

Chronic stress can really take a toll on the health of your body, but sometimes I think people don't realise just to what extent. So in true The Introvert Archive style, I put a good few days worth of research into this one, to give you a little insight into what effects stress can have on your body.

  • Stress can.. make you gain weight. Chronic stress makes it incredibly difficult to loose weight and very easy to gain it. Cortisol, which is a stress hormone increases your appetite due to the need for more energy. Stress will also cause you to crave anything and everything sugary and sweet, because that sugar releases a hormone called serotonin, which is calming and relaxing- the opposite to cortisol. I am a sucker for comfort food when I am stressed, if I think it is going to make me feel better- no matter how much I know it is actually bad for me, I will eat it, but because I am not such a sweet tooth I often take comfort in carbs (if you ever see me making a Shepherds Pie, you can guarantee I'm stressed). 
  • Stress can.. cause insomnia. This is often one of the first things people notice when they are stress- it is bloody hard to sleep. Whether it be taking a long time to fall asleep or having a disrupted sleep- this can turn into a real issue. Sleep deprivation can have effects on the heart and cause your body to have a harder time fighting off infections. 
  • Stress can.. effect your menstrual cycle. I have done a whole post on the menstrual cycle and why you might be missing your period, you can read that one here. Due to fluctuating hormones caused by stress, the hormones that are responsible for menstruation can be suppressed- therefore you might be late for a period, your cycle could become irregular, or you could stop getting your period all together. Apparently, this happens because if you are stressed it is obviously not the best time to be getting pregnant, there for your body react by suppressing your menstrual cycle hormones. 
  • Stress can.. have an effect on men's reproduction too. Similar to your body suppressing the menstrual cycle hormones in women to prevent pregnancy during times of stress, in males their sperm count will decrease. 
  • Stress can.. leave you with skin conditions. Our skin is the largest of the bodies organs, it isn't surprising that it is also effected by chronic stress. While some conditions are not necessarily caused by stress, stress can ultimately make them worse for you. Conditions can include acne, psoriasis, eczema, rosacea and alopecia. In times of stress I get the worst back acne, which is often the firs tell tale sign that I am not coping very well. As well as skin conditions, it has also been shown that wounds to the skin such as cuts and bruises take a longer time to heal up when the body is stressed. 
  • Stress can.. hurt your heart. During times of acute stress the body is flooded with adrenaline which in turn raises your heart rate and blood pressure. During times of chronic stress your risk of heaving a heart attack can be raised. A prolonged heart rate and blood pressure can cause artery damage. 
  • Stress can.. make you more likely to get sick. Chronic stress can seriously weaken you immune system and make you vulnerable to all sorts of infections that might be living around you. This could be anything from the common cold you chicken pox. 
  • Stress can.. trigger depression. Especially if you are someone who suffers with depression, stress can revert you into a depressed state. I think sometimes you can be depressed because you are stressed or stressed because you are depressed- their are very strong links between the two. 
  • Stress can.. play with your digestive system. When you are stressed tummy troubles can become something of a regular occurrence. Due to your gut and and your brain being connected and controlled by many of the same hormones you can feel stress not only in your brain, but in your gut too. Chronic stress can really pile on the issues with your gut including heartburn, constipation, vomiting, diarrhea and indigestion.
There are many more ways that the body can be affected by chronic stress, but I didn't want to overload you. I wanted to make this post to open your eyes to what stress could be ding to your body and encourage you to seek ways to reduce stress in your life for the sake of the health of your body.