By Denyse Peterson | 06/17/2016

How Stress Manifests in the Body

How Stress Manifests in the Body

Being stressed out isn’t fun. Stress can have a negative effect on you physically, energetically, mentally and emotionally. These effects range from illness to irritability and depression, and can make it more difficult for you to perform daily tasks. If you think that stress is nothing to worry about, the following symptoms may just change your mind.

Physical Effects

Imagine you were getting chased by a tiger. What would happen? Your heart rate would increase, your blood pressure would go up, your respiratory rate would go up and blood would be diverted away from your digestive system. The same things happen when you’re under a lot of stress. While these changes are an involuntary survival tactic in the wild, in the modern world they put pressure on your heart, lungs and digestive system.

Prolonged stress also causes inflammation in the body, which leads to pain and discomfort. Once you’re in a state of inflammation, your immunity is compromised and you’re more prone to illness. Have you ever gotten sick right after completing a big project? It probably had something to do with your stress level.

Energetic Effects

Energetically, stress can manifest as symptoms of anxiety when you worry about the future or depression when you get stuck in the past. Another energetic symptom of stress is impaired sleep, when you sleep too much or too little or can’t fall asleep. Being under a lot of strain can also interfere with your sleep when you wake up in the middle of the night to worry.

Mental Effects

Have you ever felt preoccupied when you were stressed? How about scattered, distracted, unfocused or forgetful? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. There are all common mental effects of stress.

Emotional Effects

Are you happy and bubbly when you’re stressed out? Not usually. On an emotional level, prolonged strain can cause you to experience fear, anger and sadness. When you’re stressed out, your temper gets shorter, and you can become highly-strung and irritable.

Stress can cause a variety of symptoms that negatively affect your quality of life. To keep them at bay, practice stress-relief techniques like mindfulness, meditation and yoga. If you’re pressed for time, a quick and easy destressing technique is to focus on your breathing. Set a timer for two minutes and breathe in for four counts and out for four counts, focusing on the numbers and the feeling of air expanding and leaving your lungs. This will slow your respiratory and heart rates and give your mind a break from focusing on your stressor. The more you work on reducing your stress level, the sooner you’ll improve your physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Denyse Peterson is the owner of Virginia Yoga Therapy. She is one of the first in the nation to receive a Master of Science degree in Yoga Therapy. Denyse is an expert in stress management, pain management and mood regulation. Yoga Therapy is health and wellness for body, mind and spirit effectively addressing specific conditions, bringing relief, a higher level of functioning and a greater sense of well-being and ease. This individualized approach to healing is client centered and outcome oriented.

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