With age comes stress, and with chronic stress comes potential health problems. And when you're growing up, stress isn't always easy to avoid.
Minor situations can cause major stress, especially when they all begin to pile up on top of each other. There may be times when your stress is so bad that it just becomes part of your day, blinding you to the fact that it is taking a serious toll on your body and mind.
Because of this, stress has much more of an impact on your body than you probably realize.
Here are five things that can happen to your body when you're under extreme stress:
1. Low Energy Level
When your body is under extreme stress, you get less sleep. That's because your racing thoughts keep you up at night, and then you feel sluggish and exhausted the following morning.
This all leads to a low energy level during the day. Fatigue will seem like your worst enemy, and no amount of coffee will be able to get rid of it.
2. Loss of Appetite
Contrary to what many people think, you may end up losing your appetite when you're stressed.
In a recent study, researchers discovered that instead of going for "comfort food," stressed-out people ended up eating less when they were feeling anxious.
This lack of appetite can also lead to weight loss, so make sure you pay attention to how your body responds to stressors over time.
3. Weakened Immune System
Since stress can repress your immune system, you may fall victim to more than the seasonal cold when you're going through a particularly stressful time.
People who deal with chronic stress are more likely to get colds and have lower white blood cell counts than the average person.
Because your body's ability to fight off bacteria will be lowered, you may also experience breakouts.
4. Substance Abuse
Extreme cases of stress may lead to drug or alcohol abuse, both of which can turn into long-term addictions. What may start off as a coping mechanism can turn into an addictive behavior to reduce stress and tension.
Take note of your urges after dealing with a stressful situation. Simply being aware of how you cope can lead to more healthy choices.
5. Depression And Anxiety
Although anxiety and depression can be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, they can be situational as well. If you have symptoms of extreme stress and fail to notice them, you could be at risk for other mental health problems.
Although extreme stress can wear you down physically and mentally, there are many positive and healthy ways to deal with it and avoid long-term side effects.
Recognizing your symptoms are related stress and focusing on what triggers your stress are the first steps to changing how you cope with it.
At the end of the day, remember stress is a normal part of everyone's lives, and we could all benefit from a bit of relaxation.