I would love to say that I am writing this from my yoga mat while deep breathing and inhaling lavender, but, really, this list is to convince all readers AND myself that, indeed, stress is a serious health disruptor.
1. The Gut. Everything from secretions, motility, permeability, sensitivity, blood flow, and healthy flora is affected in the gut when we stress. It goes way beyond “butterflies in the stomach,” in other words.
2. Performance. Things like memory function are hugely affected by stress, as well as concentration and focus, but, what’s worse is the actual damage that brain cells incur from it.
3. Immunity. I hate being sick and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone on that one, but stress can both weaken the immune system and overstimulate your immune response, resulting in inflammation which is the cause of most modern-day disease and overall sub par health levels.
4. Fat deposition. What a bummer. If it isn’t enough that we are freaking out about life already, our body rebels even further by putting fat right where we’d like it the least: around the midsection.
5. Addiction. We tend to become stress junkies once the whole process begins. The way in which we respond to stress–eating processed foods, staying late at work, exercising too little (or too much), caffeine-binging, or drinking–creates even more problems and perpetuates the cycle.
The take-home point? Stress is serious. We live in a world where, sadly, stress is brushed aside and even revered in the guise of being busy or having a good work ethic. All of us, myself included, need to find ways to cope a little bit better.