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How stress affects your body and what to do about it

13 Feb, 2024
Lady sat at desk rubbing temples due to stress

Stress is a common feeling most of us know all too well.

Often, it is easy to manage and cope with, but other times it can become overwhelming and leave us physically and mentally ill.

Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of threat or demand. It is a natural defence mechanism that wants to protect you.  Stress can have its benefits. It keeps you alert and on your toes and sharpens your concentration. However, when it goes beyond a certain point, it can be highly debilitating. If you often find yourself overwhelmed, frazzled and unable to cope, it’s time to take action and get your nervous system rebalanced and back on track.

Here, we take a closer look at how stress affects your body and the steps you can take to combat its worst impacts. 

How stress affects your body

Stress symptoms affect not only your mind but your body and behaviour as well. Being able to recognise these symptoms will help you manage them more easily. The main symptoms of stress include headaches, muscle tension, chest pain and sleep problems. It can also lead to more severe long-term health issues if left untreated or unaddressed.

Stress hormones affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems, and if you already have a breathing problem like asthma, stress can make it even harder to breathe. Your heart rate also increases under stress, leading to high blood pressure and the potential risk of a heart attack.

Your digestive system is affected by chronic stress and may increase your risk of developing chronic conditions, including Type-2 Diabetes. With heightened stress, you’re also more likely to have acid reflux due to a rise in stomach acid. And although stress doesn’t cause stomach ulcers, it does increase your risk of developing them. Stress stimulates the immune system, which can help avoid infections and heal wounds. However, over time, the stress hormones can weaken your immune system and leave you more susceptible to flu and common colds. 

How stress affects your mind

Stress doesn’t just create physical symptoms, but mental ones as well, including restlessness, lack of motivation, anxiety and irritability.

The effects stress has on your mind can leave you feeling drained and deflated. From a lack of sleep or motivation to heightened anxiety, stress can soon take its toll and lead to depression and other mental health issues.

Memory loss, confusion and difficulty with concentration also come into play when you’re stressed. When stressed, people find it more challenging to create short term memories. For example, if you find yourself stressed during an event, it may be more challenging to remember what happened in the following days accurately.

How to manage stress

When functioning well, your nervous system can help you feel calm and relaxed, even when under pressure. However, if it’s not functioning correctly, it can lead to enhanced feelings of stress, anxiety or depression, all of which can impact your overall health and wellbeing.

When untreated or left to spiral out of control, stress can lead to serious health issues. There are several stress management strategies such as getting regular exercise, spending time with loved ones and setting time aside for hobbies.

Best supplements to help the nervous system

  • Nutri-Calm (90 tablets)
    Consistently one of our top selling products, Nutri-Calm is our key system product designed to support a healthy nervous system. It can help you stay soothed and settled during times of pressure and in physically stressful conditions that can deplete the body of B vitamins. 
  • 5 HTP with L-Tryptophan (90 vegan capsules)
    Our 5 HTP supplement helps to raise serotonin levels which can lead to an increased feeling of happiness and help alleviate stress and anxiety. People who have suffered from insomnia often find that they start to sleep more soundly, awake with more energy, and can go through the day without feeling fatigued.
  • Frankincense Organic Essential Oil (10ml)
    This organic essential oil is well-known in aromatherapy circles for its calming and healing properties. It is used to tone oily or ageing skin and wrinkles. Frankincense essential oil has been used to ease anxiety and stress and benefit the respiratory system. It is a general tonic and has a calming effect during stressful times. It is most useful during meditation.
Many things can affect the healthy function of your nervous system and make it difficult to de-stress, relax and sleep. If you’re feeling stressed, the first step to getting better is to identify the cause and seek healthy options to help you cope.
While adopting a positive outlook and sharing your problems with family and friends can help take care of the mental side of things, exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress.
Getting plenty of rest will also help, as will avoiding stimulants like alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and excess sugar.

Check out these links to our products and collections to find out more:
Information and other content provided in Lily & Loaf blogs should not be construed as medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical expertise. If you have any medical concerns, you should consult with your health care provider.