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Ahhh, stress. We all know the symptoms. The racing heartbeat, the constricting throat, the sweaty palms, the feelings of irritability, anxiousness, and overwhelm.
It's not that stress is inherently bad for us. A small amount of short-lived stress can actually be beneficial and save our lives. In the Paleolithic era cavemen were often saved by the appropriate stress response allowing them to outrun and outwit a tiger. Nowadays we can use it to get out of dangerous situations and to think clearly on our feet.
Unfortunately nowadays we also get stressed getting ready for work, dealing with road rage on our commutes, meeting unrealistic deadlines, managing finances, and on and on. Also to our detriment, our bodies don't actually discern between the stress from running away from a hungry grizzly bear or because we missed our flight connection. The same hormonal responses, pretty much shutting everything down but the necessary processes to live happen either way.
So what? Well, here are 10 reasons why stress is so harmful to us:
(1) The American Medical Association has noted that stress is the basic cause of 60% of all human illness and disease.
(2) Stress can cause things like chronic fatigue, IBS, hypertension, digestive disorders, weight gain, obesity, decreased sex drive, ulcers, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and insomnia (Ok, so that's like 11 pretty big things right there).
(3) It causes us to age prematurely! Noooo! Stress shortens our telomeres, and when they become too short, cells stop dividing. Hello wrinkles.
(4) It can damage your heart. Stress causes the heart rate to increase and your blood vessels to constrict, which causes high blood pressure and your heart to work harder.
(5) It increases bad bacteria in your gut and leads to leaky gut (which is what we are trying to heal with a good diet like a Paleo diet!!)
(6) It increases your susceptibility to infections.
(7) It makes it harder for your body to detoxify.
(8) It makes you want to stuff your face. Researchers at the University of Miami found that people consume 40 percent more food than normal when placed in a stressful situation.
(9) It can cause you to grind your teeth which makes your jaw hurt, your teeth to wear down, and your head to pound.
(10) If you don't cope with stress well it can lead to depression.
Now that you know why stress is so bad for you, what can you do about it? The first step is recognizing that you do have stress. Ignoring it doesn't make it go away. And then I recommend you join my RELAX challenge! From May 20-25, 2015 I will send out an email each day to challenge participants with simple techniques you can do that don't take a lot of time (and that are free to do). At the end of the challenge, one participant will win this amazing prize (seen below)! Two runners up will get a microwave neck wrap scented with soothing essential oils. (sorry, US residents only eligible for the prizes)
All you need to do to enter and to start finding your way out of the stress trap is to sign up HERE. Your email is safe with me and will only be used for purposes of the challenge. (My main, weekly email list is separate, so if you are on that you still need to sign up for this). This is all completely free. I hope you will join me!
And then if you want my main, weekly email updates, sign up for that below:
Very good post. I will be going through some of these issues as well..
Thanks Darcy! Hope you are able to get your stress under control!
I love the idea of the challenge (sorry I missed it). I’ve been dealing with stress for a long time (since a doctor told me my autoimmune condition was caused by stress!). It’s been a journey 🙂 I do find creating things (articles, recipes, artwork – anything creative) really helps me.
Hey Louise – I will have the challenge again in a few months so you will have another chance to join!
Oh, I love to mindlessly doodle when I’m stressed. That’s probably why so many kids doodle on the margins of their notebooks and textbooks. Adult coloring kits are becoming so popular now. Thx for sharing!
Oh, I just rediscovered , doodling and coloring for distressing. I still have to find other ways to get rid of my stress. I grind my teeth at night like nobody’s business. Even my extra hard night guard only holds up for one year.
Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us.
Oh, grinding your teeth is the worst! I did that a few weeks ago during a stressful time at work and it just makes your jaw hurt all day long! I hope I can help with that since that is definitely not fun.