Chronic stress is behind a multitude of poor lifestyle choices, mental health issues, and chronic disease. The effects of chronic stress on health can show up in your wrinkles, of all places. Read further for possible help with stress, especially now that we are all quarantine at home.
Guest post by Lauren Newfound
The Effects of Chronic Stress on Health
With a bombardment of daily tasks, worry and stress have taken the passenger seat alongside the hectic lifestyles of modern living. Mounting interest rates, teenage troubles, and lack of sleep are daily hurdles. At the same time, we shovel fast food into our mouths between business calls; we cannot escape due to the perfect capability of mobile phones to fit into any sized pocket or handbag.
How chronic stress affects heart health
In the article “Stress and coronary heart disease: psychosocial risk factors” in the Medical Journal of Australia, the study found an association between depression, lack of social support, and coronary heart disease. Single parents or those susceptible to depression suffer higher levels of chronic stress as they struggle to cope with a pressurizing lifestyle. While most people are aware of the effects of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking on heart health, fewer people recognize the significant contribution of stress toward a damaged circulatory system.
Research by the PNAS (Proceedings of Natural Academy of Sciences) has similarly found an association between inflammatory molecules in the blood and a host of age-related conditions including arthritis, certain cancers, periodontal disease, and cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, chronic stress has been shown to increase these inflammatory molecules, hence placing individuals at a higher risk of suffering severe illness in the future.
The link between chronic stress and unhealthy lifestyles
From a psychology standpoint, chronic stress may lead to unhealthy choices, including overeating, difficulty sleeping, and strained relationships. In turn, these choices promote heart disease and chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
The shiny new wellbeing industry is estimated to expand exponentially in forthcoming years as a range of health professionals promote lifestyle changes to prevent, rather than treat, chronic diseases. Stress management involves a change in lifestyle habits and a step towards creating a routine that supports healthy eating, exercise, sleep, and relationships.
While it is difficult to veer around stressful obstacles that are inevitable to daily life, companies are beginning to recognize the negative impact of stress on the lives of both employees and society in general. Corporate health is booming, where group exercise classes, nutrition education, and office massages are permeating the business districts of major cities across the world. Similarly, the popularity of yoga, meditation, and stress-relieving trips to the Bahamas are signifying the importance of relaxation and rejuvenation in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Stress may be as inevitable as death and taxes, yet to reclaim our health, we need to plug the rising levels of chronic stress in our daily lives. Whether it is joining a health club or merely ensuring adequate sleep, the growing popularity of Botox may be indicative of more than just the odd frown line.
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