What Are the Long-Term Effects of Stress on Mental Health?

Stress can be a healthy thing that pushes us to do better in everyday situations, but it can also be a very bad thing that affects our health and our overall happiness. It is a natural physical response like adrenaline. We as humans have needed this chemical reaction in our bodies to survive, but now that we live in a world without saber-toothed tigers walking around we do not have to rely on this reaction as much as we had to in the past. We all feel stressed, but we need to be more conscious of the causes of stress has on our body and our health.

How to Recognize Stress and Its Symptoms

Symptoms of stress on your body – Fatigue, chest pain, muscle tension or pain, headache, sleep problems, stomach pains or nausea.
Symptoms of stress in your mood – Restlessness, lack of motivation and focus, anxiety, overwhelming feelings, irritability or anger, depression, and sadness.
Symptoms of stress in your behavior – Angry outbursts, drug or alcohol abuse, tobacco use, overeating or undereating and social withdrawal.

Recognizing the symptoms of stress is an important key to avoiding it. If you experience any of these symptoms and think you might be experiencing stress.  Find the solution that is right for you and end this harming problem once and for all. Some might experience stress more than others but no matter the level, it is important to recognize this emotion and do as much as possible to calm it.

The Negative Effects of Stress on Our Body

When ignored, stress can become a big problem in our lives. It can cause us to feel unmotivated, overwhelmed, depressed and even angry on a daily basis. Stress affects our social lives, work lives, our emotional stability, and our bodies. It can become a more serious problem if we do not make the choice to overcome it.

  • Headaches – Stress triggers and intensifies tension headaches.
  • Heartburn – It increases the production of stomach acid, in some cases leading to heartburn.
  • Risk of a heart attack – Stress increases our heart rate like other emotions such as anger or anxiety. Increased heart rate and high blood pressure cause damage to our arteries, leading to a heart attack in some cases.
  • Fertility problems – This emotion interferes with the reproductive system in both women and men and can make it harder to conceive.
  • High blood sugar – Stress can put you at risk for type 2 diabetes, dude to you liver releasing extra sugar (glucose) when feeling stressed.
  • Weakened immune system – Long-term and chronic stress leaves us more vulnerable to infections. It weakens our immune system’s defenses, which makes us more susceptible to diseases and toxicities.

The Long-Term Effects of Chronic Stress on Mental Health

There are many serious effects of chronic and traumatic stress on our mental health; including mood disorders, higher risk of bipolar disease, anxiety disorders, and depression. These effects are not something that are easily fixed or combated and can lead to very unhappy lifestyles and more serious mental issues if ignored or untreated. Stress has been known to cause sleep problems, thus leading to more serious depression, anxiety, anger and mood disorders.

Stress might seem like a harmless reaction but it can actually become something that affects our mental health, our physical health, and our emotional well-being. Stress not only affects adults but children and teenagers too. No matter your age, you should take a serious look at yourself and ask; am I stressed? What can I do to prevent or combat the stress I experience on a daily bases? Take a minute to answer these questions and find a solution before the stress you feel leads to more serious mental and physical issues in your life.

3 Healthy and Natural Ways to Deal With Stress

  • Calming lemon balm tea – This might seem like a very simple solution to a big problem but it is very effective. It improves the mood, relieves stress and anxiety and boosts alertness and calmness. If you are feeling stressed, drink a glass of lemon balm tea; it can be hot or cold and prepared however is preferred.
  • Relaxing lavender bath – Lavender oils have been shown to help with depression, anger, tension, and stress. It calms the nervous system and allows the body to let go of stressful emotions. Mix 4 to 5 drops of lavender oils in your bath then sit back and relax. Take a breath and let go of the stress you are feeling.
  • Exercise – Simply doing 30 minutes a day has huge effects on our mental health. It reduces stress, anxiety, and depression, whilst also keeping our bodies strong and healthy. Try simple workouts and exercises to find what is right for you and next time you feel stressed, get your body moving and let go of the stress.

The most important key of combating stress in our lives is recognizing it and saying “I need to fix this now”. If we make that choice and we make the decision every day of being more conscious of our feelings, our lives will improve greatly. Find what is perfect for combating your stress and use it in the future. Remember you’re not alone and many people are working hard to be healthy and happy by your side. Do your best!

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