Ever wonder how stress is affecting your body? Typically we have multiple forms of stress everyday, and some we will never be able to ignore as they come with our jobs, relationships, and kids. Stress is inevitable but we should always strive to limit the amount of stress we put on ourselves daily as it can have negative long-term affects on our health. Sometimes we allow stress to affect our health day in and day out because we don’t know how to properly deal with it. Here are some ways stress negatively affects your body and a solution for each symptom caused by your stress.
1. Anxiety and/or Tingly Bits
Stress is often created before exhilarating or stressful moments such as giving a speech or going into a job interview. Some people suffer from anxiety attacks – often have trouble breathing or hyperventilate. When this happens your body begins releasing too much carbon dioxide, which changes the pH in your blood. When this happens you often feel a tingling sensation in your feet, hands, or mouth.
To return your pH to a normal level you must increase your CO2 by taking in less oxygen. Holding your breath for five to ten seconds will help do this as well as covering one nostril so you can only breathe through one.
2. Ugly Nails
It is common for people to catch themselves biting on their nails when they are nervous. Even if you are not a nail biter, stress alone can negatively affect your nails by triggering horizontal grooves called Beau’s lines. Your body knows when you are emotionally distressed and will begin transferring your energy away from your nail cells to major organs.
Focus on your diet! Make sure you are eating meals that are high in protein, focusing on lean meats, fish, eggs, and dairy. B vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids will also improve your nails, these can both be found in salmon, avocado, and nuts. Before you go to bed rub some almond oil on your cuticles, this will create a protective moisturizing shield for your nails.
3. A Cold
It is common for people to get colds right before a major event or a stressful time in their lives – what great timing, right?! Our bodies begin producing cortisol which then interacts with our white blood cells – these are what power our immune system. This is what causes us to begin getting sick as our white blood cells can become desensitized and we are unable to fight off infection.
Colds are viruses so no prescription can help stop your cold right away. Antihistamines will help calm your symptoms, but you need to make sure you get extra sleep and drink a lot of water. This will help build up your immune system and rid your cold.
4. Stomach Aches
Our brains and bellies are connected more closely than you may think. We have a gut-brain axis, which is the biochemical signaling between our gastrointestinal tract and our central nervous system. When we have strong emotions such as stress this can set off neurotransmitters in our gastrointestinal tract, which causes our intestines to contract more intensely – causing diarrhea. The opposite affect is our GI tract contracting slowly, causing constipation. We also may feel symptoms of heartburn as stress triggers stomach acid to back up in our esophagus.
Watch what you eat before a stressful event, a burrito is not going to help the situation. Also try working out before a stressful day as mood-boosting endorphins can help a bad stomach ache before it even starts. If you already have the stomach pains and need them to go away an anti diarrheal or heartburn chewable could help your current symptoms.