Emotional Wellbeing

Mandy Kloppers

The Negative Health Impact of Stress


While many of us have a good grasp of how stress affects our mental and emotional health, few are aware of the many different ways it can negatively impact our physical well-being. This infographic from Study Medicine Europe explores how stress can be a significant contributing factor to a wide range of health conditions and issues.

What is Stress? MedlinePlus define stress as “a feeling of emotional or physical tension” that arises from “any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous.” A normal reaction to the pressures of everyday life, everyone feels stressed from time to time. While many of us focus on the negative side of stress, it can also be a positive thing. Positive stress (or “Eustress”) can give us the motivation and energy we need to enhance our performance in challenging situations.

How Does Stress Affect The Body?

77% of people say they regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress. Everyone experiences stress differently, whereas for some stress manifests itself as insomnia for others it might be through stomach aches. Many of these health issues are brought about by the stress response which sends the body into “fight or flight” mode which can turn off or change typical bodily functions.

In addition to this, many people often turn to unhealthy behaviours (e.g. smoking, drinking, over-eating) as a means of coping with stress. If sustained over a long period of time, these behaviours can have a detrimental effect on the body.

Your Mental Health is Your Wealth

While we are all aware of the importance of maintaining healthy behaviours such as healthy eating and regular exercise, few of us think about what things we can do to protect our mental health. As such, it’s vital to hone skills in stress management as a way of dealing with the daily pressures of life. Not only does learning these techniques benefit our mental and emotional well-being, but it also helps to boost our physical health.

Learn more about how stress affects the body, in the infographic guide below.