At the end of last year, I learned a few things about stress that blew me away.
Ongoing, long-term stress and buried negative or unresolved emotions from the past can trigger elevated stress hormones and negative physical changes in our bodies.
“Studies have shown that short-term stress boosted the immune system, but chronic stress has a significant effect on the immune system that ultimately manifest an illness,” according to an article published in the Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences.
The piece goes on to list several health issues that can pop up including an increase in viral infections, the release of histamines, risk of diabetes mellitus, stress ulcers, ulcerative colitis, plaque build-up in the arteries, depression, schizophrenia and tumor growth, among many others.
Stress is no joke.
Of course, we encounter stress each day. Minor things like being worried about giving a speech or being late to an appointment are temporary and don’t weigh on your mind years into the future.
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It’s the ruminating thoughts and heavy emotional situations that keep you up at night that continue to spike your stress hormones, keeping your body in a continual state of flight-or-flight, which wears down the system making it susceptible to illness, according to The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk M.D..
Here’s a list of articles to read if you want to know more about the mind-body connection and how ongoing stress can trigger chronic illness, including autoimmune diseases.
- New Study Associates Stress-Related Disorders With Increased Risk of Autoimmune Disease
The Mighty breaks down the findings from research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The original study is HERE.
- Autoimmune disease and stress: Is there a link?
The Harvard Health Blog defines autoimmune disease and how it links to stress in easy to understand plain-talk.
- How stress influences disease: Study reveals inflammation as the culprit
This article from Science Daily highlights research from Carnegie Mellon University.
- How I Cope With Anxiety
I love Brittany’s first-person tips and candor in this piece on Medium. Sometimes it’s nice to get tips from people in the trenches of distress, not just doctors and researchers.
I hope this list is helpful and you’re inspired to research your personal situation. It’s never too late to learn what you can do to heal and/or be a better caregiver to the ones you love.
Until next time,