As a college student trying to balance school, clubs, internships, and a social life, I am all too familiar with the dangers of stress. Some of the dangers can be obvious, like you will be worn out, but some of them actually are affecting your internal organs and can have a lasting effect on your health. Here are some of the obvious and not so obvious dangers of stress and some tips on how to deal with them.
1. Weight Gain
One of the most visible dangers of stress is weight gain. But it is not always due to eating. While many women deal with stress by overeating to cope, even those who eat a normal amount of food may gain weight when they are stressed. Stress results in your body not functioning at its highest capacity, and therefore weight gain occurs. And the worst part is that is it usually around the stomach area and midsection. So a helpful tip if you are on a diet or trying to drop a dress size, try to stay away from stress.
2. High Blood Pressure
This danger of stress might be obvious, but if you are stressed out, you heart is going to be working at a higher rate to keep your body functioning properly. Stress was originally meant to keep us on our feet in case of predators who wanted to eat our ancestors, so that high heart rate was necessary for us to survive. But now that we get stressed out from everyday hassles, our increased blood rate can be doing just the opposite. Whenever you feel overwhelmed with stress, try taking a few minutes to calm yourself down. It can really help de-stress you and over time you might find out your blood pressure is lowering.
3. Increased Chance of Heart Disease
Along with higher blood pressure, stressing over time can make us more susceptible to heart diseases. Scientists have found that those who deal with high levels of stress on daily basis are more likely to be hospitalized for heart disease and have overall poorer health. Dealing with stress in a healthy way, like going for a run or doing yoga, can be extremely helpful in not only getting rid of stress, but making your heart stronger for the future to prevent these diseases.
There is nothing worse than trying to get work done and having that throbbing pain in your head. In my opinion headaches are among the worst dangers of stress. When you become stressed, your body kicks into high gear to control all of your racing thoughts and fast actions. And it can take a toll on your head by giving you headaches. Sure, popping an aspirin can help temporarily, but a better way to prevent headaches would be to get rid of stress in your life.
When you are stressed out, you can become more on edge and in return, become super aggressive. You are frustrated, you are angry, and you really don’t want to deal with people who annoy you. It is understandable, but it is also a danger of stress. You may act out in a way you later regret and aggression in general is dangerous to your health.
A very common danger of stress is that repeated exposure to stress can lead to extreme sadness and eventually depression. After a while, your body gets worn out and you become exhausted. At that point you can no longer find the energy to be happy and motivated. This is particularly dangerous because if the reason you are stressed is because of work or taking care of kids, then you will have no motivation to continue working, become more stressed out, and enter a vicious cycle that is very hard to break. Make sure to stay on top of work in a stress free manner to prevent yourself from being diagnosed with this very serious mental illness.
7. More Likely to Get Sick
Like I mentioned earlier, when you are over-stressed your body runs out of energy and becomes exhausted. And how do you expect your body to fight off infection or illness if it's worn out? Another danger of stress is that it increases your chances of getting sick. And these sicknesses can range from a common cold to pneumonia. The last thing you need when you are stressed out about work is a sickness that forces you to stay at home for a few days.
8. Affects Babies in the Womb
This one is more specific for pregnant women, but did you know the level of stress you have when pregnant can affect the health of your baby for their entire lifetime? Studies have found that the children of women who experienced extreme levels of stress when pregnant, had a higher level of aggression, increased risk of heart disease, poorer coping methods for stress, and all in all poorer health. This means that stressing over small everyday hassles when pregnant can have a lasting effect on your child’s health. So remaining in a serene and peaceful environment when pregnant is a very important thing to remember when expecting a child.
While everyone copes with stress differently, it is important to find how you deal with stress best. It not only makes you want to scream, but affects your health in so many different ways. There are so many ways to deal with stress like running, time management, optimistic outlook, and yoga. Try to test a few of these out when you get stressed out to prevent these dangers of stress. What are some ways stress affects your health? Do you know of any other dangers of stress? What causes you to be stressed and how do you deal with it?