I have caught myself a few too many times in my short 26 years on this earth feeling as though I was becoming physically ill due to stress and anxiety.
Being the worrywart that I am, of COURSE, I began thinking “does stress affect your body?”. I was shocked and appalled at the effects stress can have on your body, especially coupled with an already existing anxiety disorder.
Please see my article on the difference between stress and anxiety to view some symptoms if you are unsure if what you are feeling is anxiety or stress.
Mental Health Problems
Chronic stress can cause a healthy and relatively normal person to have mental health problems. None of us are perfect and the majority of us are far from “normal”, but the simple fact that stress can cause such terrible mental health problems is terrifying to me.
The effects stress has had on my personal mental health has astounded me on more than one occasion. I have gone through a few periods in my life where I was experiencing chronic stress, and it caused me to do and say many things that made me feel as though I didn’t even know who I was anymore.
There are studies now showing that the long-term effects of stress can permanently damage the structure of the brain and cause you to be more susceptible to mental health disorders.
Some mental health problems associated with stress are:
- Personality Disorders
- Panic Attacks
Physical Health Problems
Not only does it make us feel like we aren’t ourselves, but it can worsen and even cause dozens of health conditions, including, but not limited to the following:
- Heart Disease
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Circulatory problems including blood clots, or even strokes due to arteries and veins tightening in the body’s fight or flight response to stress
Side Effects On Your Body
- Back, neck & shoulder pain
- Chest pain
- Low sex drive
- Upset stomach
- Slower healing
- More susceptible to germs due to weakened immune system
- Premature death
Side Effects On Your Mood
- Increased sadness
- Lack of motivation
Side Effects On Your behavior
- Increased drug or alcohol use
- Lashing out at loved ones
- Becoming less active
- Isolating yourself from family/friends
If you have ever experienced any of these symptoms due to stress, I encourage you to be very mindful of your stress-relieving techniques. It is SO important for us to realize the importance of keeping our stress levels down, I know this from personal experience.
Stress can literally kill you.
Please never accept stress as something you just have to accept you will never be able to get rid of. If you need to seek professional help, please do not feel ashamed to do so. There is NOTHING wrong with seeking help. It truly can be too much for one person to handle alone, and no one expects you to!
I know from experience that stress can make you feel as though you are drowning and you can’t seem to find your way out. You can become so used to feeling stressed out that you wouldn’t know what to do with yourself if you didn’t have so many things to worry about.
Trust me, you owe it to yourself to allow yourself to relax and put those worries aside.
It is NOT normal to be constantly stressed and constantly worried all the time.
Maybe you are going through a rough patch right now, but please understand the importance of managing your stress and getting help if needed.
Please reach out if you have any questions or need someone to talk to!
Thanks for reading!