Stress is a natural and expected part of life. It can even be a good thing. It can get you motivated, help you focus, and even set you up for success. But when stress becomes a pervasive or overwhelming part of our daily lives (as is common for most people), it can become incredibly dangerous. So often we overlook the dangers of stress and convince ourselves we just need to push harder or be more disciplined to handle our overwhelmingly full plates. But that isn’t true. I’m not here to scare you, but understanding the dangers of stress just might empower you to finally take it more seriously, like it did me.
Stress is a normal and even healthy response to what our bodies and brains perceive as threats. This could include something obviously dangerous like being chased by a lion or even a mild discomfort like change or being thirsty. We are wired to stay in a balanced state and anything that disrupts that balance can create stress. Unfortunately in today’s busy, demanding world stress can become a chronic condition. And our stress responses can be on overdrive causing a project deadline, missed email, or messy house to trigger the same reaction as the lion mentioned above. This is where the problems can begin to surface and we begin to experience the dangers of stress.
The Dangers of Stress on Your Body
The physical dangers of stress are countless and often shocking. When you’re stressed your body stays on high alert causing consistently elevated levels of cortisol and adrenalin. This creates a cascade of hormonal and neural transmitter imbalances along with a long list of physical ailments including headaches, nausea, sleeplessness, obesity, heart palpitations and so much more. In addition, stress can weaken your immune system, cause digestive issues, and cause high blood pressure, heart attacks, and stroke. And as an added bonus you can also suffer the consequences of the symptoms of stress. For example, that sleeplessness you’re likely to experience makes you more accident prone, and contributes to diabetes, kidney disease, and many more chronic health conditions. Stress has also been linked with both causing and exacerbating autoimmune disease.
Simply put, stress can’t safely be ignored or “pushed through” because it will shorten both your life and health span. One of the dangers of stress is that it’s literally killing you!
The Emotional & Mental Health Dangers of Stress
Stress has a profound impact on not only duration but also quality of life. It can make you irritable, anxious, and even depressed. Stress can strain relationships, cause isolation, and cloud your judgement. In addition, stress contributes to negative self-image. Stress is also commonly accompanied by stress habits that often have profoundly negative and stressful consequences. These habits can range from nail biting and hair twirling, to emotional eating, shopping, gambling or even substance abuse. Chronic stress can also lead to more severe mental health issues.
The Dangers of Stress on Your Brain
Stress can do a number on your brain, too. When you’re under constant pressure, your cognitive function can suffer. You might find it hard to focus, make decisions, or remember things clearly. It’s like your brain is constantly running a marathon, leaving it little energy for everyday tasks.
There are many ways to mitigate the dangers of stress and it’s impact on your life. Techniques such as exercise, meditation, creating connection, managing time better, and learning to let go are all incredibly beneficial. To learn more about how to overcome stress and overwhelm be sure to grab your FREE copy of my Stress Management Workbook.
You can’t unknow what you know. Stress is dangerous to your body, brain, and mental health. It’s like an uninvited guest who stays too long wreaking havoc on your wellbeing. But there are plenty of ways to manage and mitigate it’s impact. And spoiler alert… none of them involve pushing yourself harder or punishing yourself more. You’ve already done enough of that.
You deserve a life filled with peace and happiness and managing stress is a huge step toward achieving that goal. If you want to learn how to take control of every part of your life so you can streamline, automate, and reduce stress, be sure to check out the Take Control of Your Life course and workbook series in Inner Circle and don’t forget to join me for weekly group coaching. I can’t wait to meet you and cheer you on!