What Everybody Ought to Know About Too Much Stress and Your Body

What is stress? Stress is the body’s reaction to harmful situations. When you feel threatened, a chemical reaction occurs in your body that allows you to act in a way to prevent injury, also known as the “fight-or-flight” or stress response. This can manifest as an increase in heart rate, quickened breath, muscle tightness, and rise in blood pressure. (WebMD)

Occasional stress is a part of everyone’s life. Working through and processing stressful events is key to keeping chronic stress at bay. (Healthline)

Some common effects of stress can manifest in different facets of your being. They can be physical, mental, behavioral, or mood based.

Physical symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Muscle tension/pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sex drive
  • Upset stomach
  • Sleep problems
  • Low energy
  • Frequent colds/infections
  • Nervousness/shaking
  • Dry mouth/difficulty swallowing
  • Clenched jaw/grinding teeth

Symptoms that can impact your mood include:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation/focus
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Increased irritability/anger
  • Sadness/depression
  • Difficulty relaxing/quieting your mind
  • Low self-esteem

Behavioral symptoms include:

  • Overeating or undereating
  • Angry outbursts
  • Drug or alcohol misuse
  • Tobacco use
  • Social withdrawal
  • Exercising less often
  • Procrastination

Some cognitive symptoms include:

  • Constant worrying
  • Racing thoughts
  • Forgetfulness
  • Disorganization
  • Inability to focus
  • Poor judgement
  • Pessimism

The key to managing stress is also to find active management strategies. Inactive strategies such as watching tv or scrolling social media on your phone may seem relaxing at the time but can lead to more stress in the long term. (Mayo Clinic & WebMD)

Some stress management strategies:

  • Get regular physical activity
  • Practice relaxation techniques, like deep breathing exercises
  • Set aside time for hobbies
  • Keep a sense of humor
  • Spend time with family and friends
  • Take breaks from the news
  • Take breaks from your devices
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Talk to a professional, either your doctor or therapist/counselor
  • Meditation
  • Avoid excess substance use
  • Building community through faith-based organization and activities (MayoClinic & Healthline)

Consequences of ongoing, chronic stress can cause or exacerbate:

  • Mental health problems – depression, anxiety, etc
  • Cardiovascular disease – heart disease, hypertension, stroke, etc
  • Obesity and other eating disorders
  • Menstrual problems
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Skin and hair problems – acne, eczema, etc
  • Gastrointestinal problems – gastritis, irritable colon, etc

Too much stress on your body can cause some serious health issues. My sister would get so stressed out she would break out in acne for weeks. One time she was so stressed she gave herself an extra period. Imagine that, being so stressed about whatever it is and giving yourself an extra period in between periods. Three periods in a two month timeframe.

Stress management is so important. It affects your health, your quality of life and can make you so miserable that it causes more stress.

Finding healthy ways to manage and to cope will help lessen the amount of stress in your life. Finding the cause and dealing with it will also lessen the amount of stress in your life.

If you are expressing high amounts of stress and any symptoms listed above, please try to utilize some of the management strategies listed above. If you still feel high amounts of stress, please seek help from a medical professional, there may be underlying medical issues that may be causing your stress.


References

Mayo Clinic
WebMD
Healthline


Related Posts

Ways to Manage Stress

Top 10 Food Swaps for Diabetics

One of the most important factors in diabetes management is food. You have to have some sort of idea how much sugar and carbs a certain food contains before you eat it because it could spike your blood sugar. Food is probably the only aspect in your life that affects your blood sugar that you can control. Here are some healthier alternatives to some of our favorites.


  1. Instead of mashed potatoes, try mashed cauliflower. Potatoes are full of starch and calories, they also have a high glycemic index. Cauliflower has a glycemic index of 15 putting it low on the blood-sugar-spike scale. If you use fresh cauliflower instead of frozen, you will have better results. You can still use frozen cauliflower, but it might be a little runnier than you’d want it to be.
  2. Instead of rice, make quinoa. Quinoa is a relative to spinach and beets, therefore it has the nutritional value akin to leafy vegetables. Quinoa also has high levels of minerals, fiber, and it is a complete protein with all 9 essential amino acids.
  3. Instead of buns or bread, use iceberg lettuce leaves. An average hamburger bun has about 20-25g of carbs, whereas iceberg lettuce is full of Vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, folate, and 19 amino acids, making it much more beneficial than a piece of bread. Iceberg lettuce is also low in calories, nutrient dense, and a good source of fiber.
  4. Instead of drinking sugary beverages, drink fruit-infused water. Fruit-infused water is low in sugar and calories, more hydrating, and very refreshing. It also helps to spruce up your daily water intake if you ever get tired of drinking just water all the time. I will do a post later of different combinations of infused water with some added benefits.
  5. Instead of using wheat flour, use almond flour. I’ll admit right out, almond flour is expensive. In my town at least, it’s cheaper to get almond flour in bulk than buy it packaged at the store. But here are the benefits, almond flour is much more nutritious, can reduce your LDL “bad” cholesterol, and improve insulin resistance. It’s also lower in carbs, higher in healthy fats and fiber, has a lower glycemic index and is gluten-free. My suggestion is to learn more about how almond flour is used before you bake with it, you won’t get the same results as wheat flour.
  6. Instead of using a large plate for food, use a smaller plate. Using a smaller plate helps with portion control and being able to control your portion sizes is very important. It can give the illusion of more food on a smaller plate tricking your brain into thinking you’re eating a lot of food. Another tip, slow down when you’re eating and enjoy your food. Make sure to thoroughly chew your food before slowing, it’ll make you feel fuller faster.
  7. Instead of eating cookies, candies, and chips, eat berries, nuts, seeds, and veggies. Cookies, candies, and chips are full of empty calories and carbs, whereas your healthier option has healthy carbs and proteins that will help keep your blood sugar spikes low.
  8. Instead of having little to no veggies on your plate, make sure more veggies make up half of your plate. Fill half your plate with veggies, 1/4 with protein and 1/4 with 100% whole grains to get a well-balanced meal. This will help you feel full and keeps your blood sugar more even.
  9. Instead of eating white potatoes, eat sweet potatoes. Frying white potatoes is high in unhealthy fats and oils, white potatoes are already full of carbs and have a high glycemic index. Sweet potatoes can be roasted or baked with olive oil and be a healthier option. Sweet potatoes also have a lower glycemic index and lower in calories and carbs.
  10. Instead of microwave popcorn, try stove-top popcorn. Microwave popcorn is high in trans fats, almost 5g. Stove-top popcorn may take a little longer, but it’s much healthier. It has less calories and it doesn’t come already pre-buttered, you can add however much you want to your popcorn. Also it’s cheaper than the organic microwave popcorn brands, they may be healthier altogether, but who wants to pay $6 per bag? That’s theater popcorn pricing!

Hopefully, all of these food swap options can give you some ideas for a healthier diet and hopefully it gets you out in to the internet or books to find even more swaps you can make! There are many other options out there, just do your research and consult your dietician to make your diet healthier and diabetic-friendly.


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The Journey: Episode Five

MARCH 29, 2020

I haven’t made any progress in losing weight lately. I’m very upset that I had regained all the weight I had lost. I regained about 16lbs from 183lbs. I’ve been eating healthier and exercising more, but I think portion control, my old enemy, is striking me again and again. Food is just so delicious!

My grandma was recently doing an ornish lifestyle program and she shared with me some of the food they had recipes for. I don’t think I could give up meat or animal by-products altogether, but I am contemplating taking red meat out of my diet and putting in more tofu. In fact, tonight my husband is gonna try to make Tofu Long Rice. If I remember to take a picture of it, I’ll post up the recipe. A couple nights ago, he made chicken long rice for us and it was so delicious, but I forgot to take a picture of it.

Whatever my husband and I try to make, I want to share that recipe with you folks so you can make it and eat it too. I’m not sure if you’ll be able to find all of the ingredients though, but I’d like to share them with you anyway.

For exercise, my sisters and I take my dog and my mom’s two dogs walking down at the park. If the weather’s good, we’ll go down, if not, then we just stay inside and I’ll use my sister’s resistance bands just to do something, you know?

Yesterday, we took our dogs down to a little island just off the shore called Coconut Island. With the lockdown/quarantine, the island was pretty much empty except for a homeless man, so we took the dogs off their leashes and let them loose on the island. They had so much fun. My dog had so much things she could sniff and smell. She even chased a couple of birds near the water and ran across the island three times! She’s 15 years old! I even ran with her one of those times. They had so much fun.

We were hoping we could take them again today but it was raining almost all day and there was even some thunder. So today is not a good day to go down, but the next clear day, I’d like to take them back to Coconut Island and let them run free.

Hopefully, this healthier diet and walking the dogs will help me lose some weight. But I also know that I need to watch what I’m eating. I’ve been so hungry lately and I’m not even doing anything! I need to tell my stupid self to stop being so damn dumb and stop eating!

I’m kind of glad I have this Journey blog to keep me accountable and be able to put it out in writing to keep track of my thoughts. If you’re ever thinking that your journey isn’t working, maybe you need to write it down in your own journal, diary, or even a blog. If you decide to make a blog, let me know, I’d love to follow along with your journey as well!


Follow the Young and Diabetic to get a free Diabetic Log download!

Use it to log your medication, blood sugar, exercise, and food every day.

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Join 690 other followers