Stress less! Here’s all the damage stress can wreak on your body and mind

Updated on: 17 May 2021, 14:52 pm IST

Stress is a part and parcel of life, but do you know that it can cause physical illnesses apart from the mental burden? Here’s the whole truth about stressing out

Grace Bains
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Stress
You need to stress less or reap the physical consequences. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Stress is almost like a buzzword in the 21st century that we hear multiple times during the day. But what does it really mean? Basically, stress is our body’s response to danger. 

You will notice that when you’re stressed, your heartbeat rises, your breathing becomes heavier, your blood pressure is higher and your muscles tighten. This is famously known as the fight-or-flight mode. It’s a sign that your body is preparing to save itself from attack or injury.

In small doses, stress can actually save your life. For example, it’s this very ‘fight-or-flight’ response that helps you quickly go for the brakes while driving when an object suddenly comes in front of your car, thereby, saving your life.But when it is a long-term response to different stress factors, it can cause you not just mental harm but physical illness as well. 

Stress, for everyone, is different and their ability to manage it is also varied. For someone, it could be tight deadlines at work; but for someone else, it could be an abusive relationship. Nonetheless, we need to stop brushing it under the carpet by taking it as a natural byproduct of our modern lives and start managing it better so as to stay fit.

peripheral artery disease
Pay attention to your stress levels while working, ladies! Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

So just how bad is stress for your body?
We talked to cardiologist, Dr Kamal Gupta from the Interventional Cardiology department of Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad to get a true picture of exactly how harmful stress can be for our body.

“It is a condition that develops in our mind but manifests in our body,” explains Dr Gupta. A statement we can all relate to, isn’t it?

A few symptoms of stress could be headaches, agitation, and chest pain. Stress hormones, points out by Dr. Gupta, harm our heart. It can interfere with the healthy functioning of the heart and contribute towards cardiovascular diseases which may even shorten your lifespan.

He also suggests:

When our mind is occupied by stress, it can lose its ability to focus on the matter at hand and may also cause memory problems.

“A lot of people who are stressed will also complain of feeling fatigued or lethargic. This happens because stress uses up our mental energy which leaves us drained,” Dr Gupta adds. 

Reducing chronic stress is the key to healthy living
While worrying about certain things now and then might not be something to be concerned about, recurring chronic stress is something you need to learn to manage. 

Without proper stress management, you will start noticing the following changes in your lifestyle, according to Dr Gupta: changes in appetite (eating too much or too little); increased use of alcohol, drugs or cigarettes; and skin and hair problems.  

So, Dr Gupta provided us with insights on how you can manage stress:

1. Vent and share the incidents that have been causing stress with friends and family. It will help you feel mentally relieved.
2. Take a break. No matter how the day goes, instead of pondering over the negatives, indulge in some leisure activities. Take an evening walk or simply watch some television. But it is necessary to incorporate a couple of minutes of break each day to be able to deal with stress.
3. Take a balanced approach to manage stress, which includes exercising regularly, eating a nutritious and balanced diet consisting of green vegetables and fruits, as well as drinking a good amount of water.

Also, listen:

On the whole, it is clear that stress is a part of life which we can’t just do away with. In fact, a little bit of it can actually be necessary. However, learning how to manage excessive stress is also extremely important if you want to lead a healthy life.

Grace Bains Grace Bains

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book.

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