Stress can be exhausting on the mind, but it also affects our bodies in more ways than one.
The first step in understanding some of the things that happen when our bodies are stressed constantly:
1. Stress depletes our bodies of essential nutrients: Did you know that stress can deplete our bodies of crucial vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, B vitamins, Vit C, Omega 3s? So it's important to eat food with the right awareness of what we are putting into our bodies during these times. Read more about how we an support via nutrition here
2. Compromises Digestion: As the body prioritises areas such as heart, lungs and muscles, digestive processes start to slow down and the body’s ability to absorb nutrients is affected.
3. Risk of Type 2 Diabetes increases: Under stress, our liver produces extra blood sugar (glucose) to give that a boost of energy. If we are under chronic stress, our bodies may not be able to keep up with this extra glucose surge, and may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
4. DHEA production is affected: The hormone DHEA, produced in the cortex, is a critical component for mental clarity and cognition, and it is produced both in the brain and by the adrenals. DHEA naturally decreases after age 30. When the adrenal glands have to divert their attention and respond to stress, their natural ability to produce DHEA is limited. Normal DHEA levels ensure your body has a sufficient supply of necessary hormones available on demand.
5. Sleep is impacted: Normally, cortisol levels peaks in the morning and drops to its lowest level during the night. This rhythm supports normal sleep that lets you wake up naturally refreshed and energised. However, under stress, the body cannot wind down and has elevated levels of cortisol which interfere your ability to sleep, which in turn affects the body's ability to heal, repair and rejuvenate itself.
Learning to relax the body, through specific breathing and relaxation exercises as well as by minimising stressful thinking, is important in limiting the damage stress can have on our bodies.
Image credit IG: @oliver.mayhall