Why stress is worse than you think

It’s no secret that prolonged stress isn’t good for you, but did you know it can actually be damaging to your health?

Life is all about balancing your responsibilities (including those involving your health and your social life), but sometimes it can feel more like a juggling act. It’s only natural that you’ll feel pressure, and a little stress can’t hurt, right? In fact, couldn’t it even help spur you onwards?

Good stress vs Bad stress

Well, that depends. There are two types of stress: good stress (or eustress) and bad stress (or acute stress). Good stress is short-lived and helps motivate you — it usually accompanies a sense of having control over the outcome of what’s happening, whether that be a test, deadline, or presentation. Studies have found that small amounts can even make us more social, promote creativity, and improve our memory. Acute stress, on the other hand, usually comes hand-in-hand with a sense of helplessness and often continues beyond the event that triggered it.

Unfortunately, prolonged acute stress can have a detrimental impact on your health. Your body thinks it’s permanently in fight or flight mode, interfering with everything from your emotional state to your physical endurance. Luckily, combatting stress can be as simple as meditating, stretching, or just getting enough sleep every night. Here’s why it’s so critical to give yourself that opportunity for self-care:

You might be making yourself sick

Stress impacts our system’s ability to ward off foreign bodies, including bacteria, viruses, and cancerous cells. Chronic stress continually puts a strain on our immune system by creating inflammatory conditions and reducing our ability to heal. Stress causes high levels of cortisol to be released, putting you at risk for autoimmune conditions including fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. It has also been linked to asthma, diabetes, and obesity, along with multiple other illnesses.

It could hurt your smile

Protect those pearly whites by reducing your stress level. According to the Australian Society of Orthodontists, stress can induce Bruxism, or the habit of grinding your teeth while you sleep. This can wear down the enamel, chip teeth, or make your jaw muscles sore. A stressed immune system can factor into your oral health: inflammation can allow opportunistic bacteria in your mouth to multiple, causing gingivitis. It can also worsen already existing periodontal disease and make it harder to treat.

It’s no friend to your waistline

The time has long gone when humans needed to eat as much as possible in order to survive. However, the compulsion to indulge a little too much hasn’t, and it tends to rear its head when we’re stressed. According to the University of Miami, people struggling with stress consume 40 percent more food than normal. And then you risk welcoming in the cycle of feeling stressed so you eat more, the weight gain increasing your stress level so you eat some more, and so on. Avoid that cycle entirely by finding a more productive outlet: do some yoga, read a book, or spend time with a friend.

At Soulara, we’re all about minimising the stress in your life. Our pre-packaged, plant-powered meals are delivered straight to your door and are designed to keep you feeling happy, healthy, sexy, and strong.

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Published: 01/12/17

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