Being nervous is sometimes a good thing. Getting nervous before a date or a big presentation is completely normal and can even help you perform better. Feeling nervous and scared in a dangerous situation can keep you alive. When your nerves and stress become chronic is when they start to take a toll on your body. Let’s talk about the ways stress affects the body.
If you are trying to lose weight or improve your health, stress may be preventing you from achieving your goals. I have certainly struggled with the three things on the list below because of my anxiety.
Here are three ways stress affects the body that you may not be aware of:
Your body releases the hormone cortisol when it is stressed. This hormone gives you energy to deal with stressful situations. However, if you live in a constant state of distress, your body will start releasing insulin to deal with all that cortisol your body is producing. The issue with that is, your body’s favorite place to store insulin is in the belly. Too much stress means too much cortisol, which results in too much insulin in the belly! Belly fat is really dangerous, so getting a handle on your stress could save your life.
Cortisol works by increasing blood flow to your limbs to help you make a fight or flight response when facing a stressful situation. If you suffer from chronic stress, your blood flow is constantly out of whack. The increased blood flow to your limbs results in lowered blood flow to your digestive system. The lowered blood flow affects how well you absorb nutrients. Not being able to digest and absorb food properly can lead to IBS and similar issues.
Digestion issues is the number one side affect to my stress. When my anxiety acts up, I am constantly bloated, uncomfortable and nauseous. Those things often lead to more stress and more stomach issues. It is a vicious cycle.
Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is often caused by muscle imbalances like: tight hips, poor core strength and weak butt muscles. Those muscle imbalances are typically the outcome of an inactive lifestyle. However, that isn’t the only thing that creates back pain. Stress can also be the problem. People tend to tense up in stressful situations. The lower back area is one of those areas that likes to tense up when the body is feeling anxious. There are stretches you can do to relieve lower back pain, but until you have found a way to manage your stress, the pain will keep returning.