The Long Term Effects of Chronic Stress
Your body’s response to the effects of chronic stress can be less than optimal, especially after having undergone that stress for a long period of time. When you’re under stress consistently, and for a long period of time, your body becomes less able to adapt to the circumstances associated with that stress. During a stressful period, your breathing becomes shallower, your heart rate increases, digestion slows down, and your muscles tense up, so as to be ready to spring into action. All these are natural responses which over the millennia, have allowed humans to survive whatever crisis was being faced. However, this is not the natural state of the body, and when it remains in this state for an extended period of time, there are consequences.
Effects of chronic stress
When the body becomes stressed, it abandons those activities which are directed at long-term health and wellness, and instead prepares for activities which are considered necessary for immediate safety. One of the processes that gets abandoned routinely is the digestive process, and since this is needed for brain function, immune health, and waste removal, a critical body function is lost. That’s why many people who experience ongoing stress develop such medical conditions as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
When the body becomes focused on handling perceived threats instead of carrying out normal processes, the immune system begins to suffer as well. Another major impact of chronic stress is that it robs a person of essential rest and sleeping hours. During sleep, a great many repairs are conducted by your body, and much of your natural resistance to disease gets restored. When your sleep becomes disrupted by stress, your body becomes much less able to repair itself, and becomes exposed to many more unpleasant possibilities.
Other impacts of stress
It isn’t just your body that gets affected by chronic stress – your mental health can be degraded as well. When you are under constant stress, you won’t have as much energy available for situations like these:
- being patient when necessary
- overcoming daily irritations
- managing fatigue
- dealing with anxiety and depression
- maintaining concentration.
With less energy available for managing the myriad of daily disruptions which happen in life, you become much more prone to responding inappropriately to all those situations. Even worse, when you stay in this same fight/flight/freeze condition for an extended period, it actually will become the normal condition of your body, and that means many of your normal bodily processes will either be ignored or degraded in favor of the immediate response to the threats.
This can be a very bad thing, because it won’t allow you to function normally and to carry out routine body processes which are essential for healthy living. Instead, you will be on edge all the time, prepared to fight off an immediate threat, which basically never comes. The impact on your body is profound, and when you recognize that you’ve been under stress for an extended period, you need to do everything possible to break that chain, and recover your normal situation.
Chiropractors at Live Aligned are skilled at healthy ways to reduce the effects of stress on your body. In addition to making life choices that reduce the amount of stress you are under we offer these additional services: