What Does Stress Do to the Body and Mind?

Stress is something that every person has to deal with from time to time. It’s a natural human emotion that allows us to act when we’re in danger. But, when a person is living with high levels of stress for an extended period of time, there are negative effects on both the mind and body. And, identifying these effects can help a person dealing with high levels of stress to understand that they may need to adjust their lifestyle or get professional help through mental health treatment. So, what does stress do to the body and mind and what can people who are dealing with high levels of stress do to manage stress levels?

What Causes High Levels of Stress?

Living with a lot of stress is something that can be predisposed in individuals that deal with certain factors. People deal with stress differently based on different reasons including:

Personality: People with certain types of personalities may be more likely to develop high levels of stress. These personality types include people who are extroverts and people who are more open and accepting of others and varying viewpoints.

Surroundings: What you’re submersed in affects your mood, including your stress levels. An environment that’s more stressful can evoke more stress. The types of environments that can influence stress are those that are noisy, messy, chemically exposed, or have artificial light.

Family History: As with many mental health issues, genetics play a role in anxiety and stress disorders. If you have people in your family who also struggle or have struggled with high stress levels, you are more likely to deal with high stress yourself.

Lifestyle: Exercise, diet, and sleep can all affect a person’s ability to moderate stress levels and deal with the impacts of stress. A lack of sleep decreases cortisol levels which are responsible for the moderation of stress. Furthermore, exercise also helps to increase cortisol levels, so, people who struggle with stress may not be as active. Finally, certain foods can help to increase cortisol levels, so different diets can lead to an increased risk of trouble with stress levels.

Trauma: Experiencing traumatic circumstances and events can lead to a lasting impact on the brain that can be responsible for high levels of stress. And, the inability to moderate stress and deal with high levels of stress. Living through stressful events makes it more challenging for people who have experienced trauma to control their stress response.

The Change That Stress Brings Upon the Body

People who deal with high levels of stress can experience negative physical symptoms of stress. Some of the negative impacts of stress on the body can include:

Illness: Stress can interfere with the body’s immune system. When the body is stressed, it is focused on how to protect itself from the reason for stress. So, the immune system is on standby. Therefore, when stressed, the body is more susceptible to illness and infection as the result of a weakened immune system.

Digestive Issues: The brain is affected by stress and leads to a decreased ability to create and disperse cortisol throughout the body. But, the brain is connected to other systems of the body including the digestive system. This means that stress can also impact digestion and leave people who live with high levels of stress with an uneasy feeling in the stomach.

Headaches and Migraines: Dealing with stress puts our bodies on edge. Because stress triggers the fight or flight response, our bodies tense up when we’re stressed because our brain is telling our body that it’s in danger. So, when stressed, our muscles continue to tense which can lead to headaches and migraines which can be debilitating to daily life.

Getting Help for High Stress Levels Through Mental Health Treatment

Stress can be a result of dealing with mental health issues like depression and anxiety. It can also contribute to the development of mental health issues. So, if you are dealing with high levels of stress and what stress does to the body, mental health treatment can help Delray Center for Healing is an outpatient mental health treatment program in South Florida that helps people living with mental health issues, including stress disorders. Find out more about how we help people living with high stress and anxiety disorders from our website.