Emotional Wellbeing


Mandy Kloppers

5 Toxic Ways Stress Affects You and 5 Ways to Manage It Better 

Can stress cause disease? Researchers remain unsure of the exact catalyst behind what causes certain conditions. However, many agree that even if too much time under pressure doesn’t spur the illness itself, it can certainly exacerbate your symptoms.  

How can toxic stress impact your body? More importantly, what can you do to combat it? Examine the following list of symptoms of stress and take action to improve your well-being.  

1. You Develop Anxiety  

Stress causes your body to release several hormones — adrenaline, norephedrine, and cortisol. Your adrenal glands govern how much of these hormones enter your blood.  

Adrenaline and norephedrine create the immediate fight-or-flight response you feel when you’re hiking, and you spot a bear. Cortisol takes longer to release, but levels of this hormone can remain elevated for a more extended time. When they do, you risk developing several health conditions, including anxiety.  

The Remedy: Meditation and Therapy  

To bring your hormones back into balance, you need to decrease the levels of cortisol in your blood. One way to do this is through meditation. This practice empowers you to sit quietly and observe your thoughts. Once you gain awareness of negative or racing thought patterns, you can reframe them more positively. Meditation gives you perspective — situations that seem like the end of the world lose their power when you quiet your panicked mind.  

However, anxiety is a medical disorder, and you may need professional help. Check with your health insurance company or a national association to find a cognitive-behavioral therapist who is right for you. In some cases, medications can also help.  

2. You Begin Grinding Your Teeth  

Bruxism is a fancy term for the act of grinding your teeth. If toxic stress impacts your life, you may do this throughout the day and even unconsciously in your sleep. Bruxism can lead to severe jaw and neck pain in addition to wearing down and even breaking teeth.  

The Remedy: A Mouthguard and Jaw Relaxation Techniques  

It’s challenging to stop a behavior you do in your sleep. The best treatment for bruxism is to see your dentist. They can fit you with a specialty mouthguard to wear at night to prevent damage. You can also perform facial yoga exercises to ease muscle cramps caused by excessive grinding.  

3. You Develop Aches and Pains  

Stress doesn’t only manifest itself in a snappy temper and cognitive difficulties. It can create physical pain, too. Indeed, some chronic pain patients report a significant improvement in symptoms after starting therapy.  

Lying on the treatment couch involves no medication, but the release of tension alone can provide relief. Plus, researchers believe that hormones influence an inflammatory response in the body. Calming this response results in less agony.  

The Remedy: See Your Doctor and Create a Tea Ceremony 

Even if you’re reasonably confident that your symptoms stem from stress, start by seeing your doctor. You could have an underlying medical condition spurring your headaches or backaches.  

Once your physician gives you a clean bill of physical health, self-heal with a tea ceremony. A tea ceremony serves as a form of moving mindfulness. As you prepare your brew, visualize yourself concocting a medical preparation. In a way, you are, especially if you choose the right tea. A combination of turmeric and black pepper offers powerful anti-inflammatory relief for minor aches and pains. Slowing down to sip your cup helps quiet the inner voice telling you to remain on the go continually.  

4. You Lean Toward Substance Abuse  

Excess stress can prompt you to find relief in a pill or bottle. People self-medicate with a host of legal and illegal substances to escape their worries for a while. However, over time, substance abuse can devastate careers and families.  

The Remedy: Seek Help and Adopt Positive Relaxing Hobbies  

Here, self-awareness remains vital. If you notice that your evening glass of chardonnay has become three or four, ask yourself what else you could do to relieve stress besides drinking. You could take up a healthy hobby, like participating in a community garden or learning how to knit.  

Remember, there’s no shame in asking for help. If you can’t cut down on any substance despite your best efforts, reach out to a counselor. If you don’t have the money or insurance coverage for therapy, you can find support groups to help you recover.   

5. Your Blood Pressure Skyrockets  

Millions of Americans have hypertension or high blood pressure. This condition increases your chance of a heart attack or stroke significantly. Recent research suggests that chronic stress can rewire your brain to keep this number elevated.  

The Remedy: Cut Down on SaltPractice Yoga and Know When to Call the Doctor 

To remedy high blood pressure naturally, put down the saltshaker and start reading labels. Many commercial canned soups, for example, contain nearly a full day’s recommended amount of sodium.  

You can also adopt a yoga practice. Physical movement benefits your blood pressure, and finding the right style of yoga for you can help in overall stress management. Always call your doctor as soon as you notice any negative changes in the way you feel. 

Eliminate the Toxic Stress Destroying Your Life 

You don’t need to let toxic stress destroy your life and health. Try a few simple tips to ease the pressure and supercharge your well-being.  

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash