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The Effects of Stress on the Body:
Why you Shouldn't Ignore the Symptoms

The effects of stress on the body long term are often over looked in today’s world of treating the symptoms rather than the cause. We get a headache so we take a pill, we don’t ask why we have the headache.

When physical illnesses occur we have to receive treatment for these first before we look at possible causes of the illness.

Just because we have taken the medicine and feel better or at least the initial symptoms appear better, we should not forget to try and find out why the illness may have occurred in the first place.

Stress and Disease

Too much stress in our lives is being recognized as a major contributory factor in many minor and major illnesses. Of course this is not true in every case but it is certainly worth considering. In fact the rates of stress related illnesses are on the increase.  This may be due to the fact that we now recognize stress as a major contributory factor.

Unfortunately when stress does cause illness this in turn increases the levels of stress and the cycle of ill health continues. 

Here is a short list of some of the illnesses in which stress is considered to play a major role:

  • High Blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Psoriasis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Migraines
  • Diabetes
  • Ulcers
  • Insomnia
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Asthma

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Mind, Body and Soul The Links

There has been a link between the body and the mind and their interactions for thousands of years. The Chinese have used this link as the main basis for their medicines and strongly believe that a healthy body relies heavily on a healthy mind.

These beliefs and effects of stress on the body are now becoming more recognized by western medicine due to more research in the area. Once such project revealed that when we are exposed to excessive levels of stress it actually doubles our chances of catching a cold etc. This is because the immune system is weakened and we are unable to fight off even the smallest of infections which a healthy body would have no problems with.

It has also been shown that wounds heal more slowly in those who are experiencing high levels of stress. This is particularly troublesome for those who have to have surgery as that in itself can increase stress and anxiety.

Reduce the effects of stress on the body

Stress has to be tackled on many levels. Learning coping techniques, managing your levels of stress and also evaluating how you react to certain situations all need to be researched and evaluated.

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Think about your lifestyle – are there things you could do differently that would reduce the pressure.

Could you do more exercise – exercise has been proven to relax the body

Look at your diet – are you eating foods which may be contributing to your inability to cope with life and are there foods which you could eat which could help your body fight stress.

These are just a few ideas.  There are many different coping techniques which can help reduce the effects of stress on the body. Explore as many as you can and find the ones that work for you and that you feel comfortable with. This is important and should become a part of your every day life from now on.

› Stress and Disease