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Dec 19, 2013 BY Joy McCarthy

10 Ways Stress Harms Your Body

—  found in  Well-being  —

Hello Joyous Readers!

One of the most popular workshops I teach at corporate lunch & learns is "Stress Management" -- the top lifestyle habits, supplements (nutrients) and foods to heal the body from stress and help to better equip the body during stress. This is a good thing because more and more people are being educated on how to better care for their body. Now I want to share some of this knowledge with you!

When you are stressed, your body secretes hormones, mainly cortisol. Before I go bashing this hormone and telling you all the ways it wreaks havoc on the body let me tell how it may actually help you.

Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands during perceived stress. What does it do?

It makes you more alert! Ever wonder how you can get through an "all-nighter" either studying before a big exam, prepping for an important meeting with your boss or a big proposal? You can thank cortisol.

Increases your heart rate and blood pressure.

Aids in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism.

Suppresses your appetite, only short-term.

Increases glucose in the blood stream to allow you to have quick burst of energy. In other words, helps you run away from a perceived danger!

PLEASE NOTE: All of these effects if short-term are not harmless as the body can easily go back to a normal state of being. However, based on what's really happening, stress is not short-term for most people!

I don't want this information to scare you, I want it to motivate you to take better care of yourself. Here are 10 ways stress harms your body:

1. Increases cravings for sugary/starchy/unhealthy foods. This is because of the rise in glucose promotes an increase in insulin and as a result can often cause LOW blood sugar making you pizza-possessed or turning you into a cookie monster!

2. Lowers your sex drive. That darn cortisol. The last thing you want to do is get busy in the bedroom when you are mega-watt stressed. This is because cortisol lowers testosterone, the horny hormone! 

3. Makes you a tight-ass. Your rectum contracts under stress. Translation? You may find you are more likely to be constipated.

4. Relaxes your bladder. Result? You might find when you sneeze or laugh you pee a little.

5. Your digestive activity is inhibited. The last thing your brain is going to do is send signals to the gut to digest your food! In fact, it pulls back and you will either eliminate immediately so the gut can rid any matter (diarrhea) or your digestive system takes a vacation leading to heartburn, constipation, indigestion, bloating etc.

6. Inhibits salivation. Dry pasty mouth? Craving sugary drinks like pop or beer? You need to drink more water as your body utilizes far more water when you are stressed and this can very quickly lead to dehydration.

7. Turns you into a zombie and keeps your awake at night. Normal cortisol levels are high in the A.M. and low at night so you can sleep. Imbalanced cortisol levels due to chronic stress cause the opposite affect keeping your wired at night and making it hard to get out of bed in the A.M.

8. You have a muffin-top you can't get rid of. Your hormones influence fat storage! So when cortisol is consistently elevated this elevates insulin which is a fat storage hormone -- especially around your belly, hips and thighs.

9. You keep getting colds and flus. Feeling like your immune system has taken a vacation along with your digestive system? Your white blood cells infection fighting ability will be hampered with long term chronic stress.

10. Makes your grumpy, depressed, anxious. Stress wreaks havoc on your hormonal system and high cortisol LOWERS serotonin, your feel-good neurotransmitter. This is one of the reasons you might crave sugars and carbs at the end of a long stressful day because it gives you a similar feeling that serotonin does. Sugar makes you temporarily feel good.

Don't worry, I won't leave you hanging... here are some ways to feel joyous through the holidays and any time of year:

5 Tips to Reduce Stress and Feel Grounded.

9 Inspirational Quotes.

30 Dr. Seuss Quotes that can Change Your Life!

6 Feel Good Survival Tips During Times of Stress.

5 Ways to Beat the Monday Blues.

Stress Busting Foods & Supplements

I hope the strategies in the above blog posts help you and keep you feeling joyous! If you are in need of a more custom approach, then take your health to a whole new joyous level. Book a session with me or have me come and do a lunch and learn at your office.

Have a joyous day!

Dec 19, 2013 BY Joy McCarthy
1 Comments
Wendy   •   December 30, 2013

Thanks! And there is also another way to look at it: http://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend.html

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