Lowering Stress Can Save Your Life
This may sound extreme, but it’s true. The health effects of stress can have a major impact on you both mentally and physically. For some, the effects of stress on the body lead to serious, life-threatening health complications.
Let’s face it, most of us are stressed. Studies show that 59% of adults experience high levels of stress. And it’s taking a toll on our health – according to a poll conducted for the American Psychological Association, 76% of the respondents experienced at least one health symptom in the last month because of stress. Lowering stress may be easier said than done, but MD Now urgent care is here to help.
Below you will find details about how stress affects the body, the top ways to reduce stress, how to prevent stress in the future, and more. If you experience any stress-related symptoms, you can always visit the physician-led team of healthcare professionals at MD Now for high-quality healthcare and treatment.
What Is Stress?
The World Health Organization defines stress as “a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation.” Stress is a natural human response that everyone experiences to some degree. However, the way we respond to stress makes a huge difference in our overall health and well-being.
It’s normal to feel stressed in challenging situations like tests, interviews, or conflicts with others. Sometimes, a little bit of stress can be motivating or even helpful. For example, if you have an important test coming up, a stress response might help your body work harder and stay awake longer.
However, repeated stress or too much stress can leave us feeling overwhelmed, anxious, afraid, or even hopeless. Consider this: 27% of respondents in the same American Psychological Association poll said they are so stressed most days they cannot function.
There are two main types of stress: acute and chronic. Acute stress is short-term stress that goes away quickly, sometimes in a matter of minutes (or even seconds). Chronic stress is stress that lasts for a longer period of time – and if you don’t learn how to manage stress properly, it can easily lead to health problems.
How Does Stress Affect the Body?
The health effects of stress are far-reaching. Even short-term stress affects many of your body’s systems with little warning, including:
- Respiratory – Rapid breathing or shallow breathing
- Cardiovascular – Increased heart rate or blood pressure
- Musculoskeletal – Muscle tightening or tension
- Endocrine – Stress hormone release that activates the “fight-or-flight” response
The health effects of stress are even more dangerous when chronic stress is involved. Most people already associate stress with mental health conditions like fear, anxiety, and depression. However, chronic stress can also contribute to the following physical conditions:
- Heart disease
- Digestive issues
- Respiratory disorders
- Memory disorders
- And more
And it doesn’t stop there – stress can also cause:
- Changes in appetite or energy
- Trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Nightmares or difficulty sleeping
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Worsening of current physical or mental health conditions
As you can see, lowering stress truly could save your life.
Examples of Stress-Related Symptoms
At MD Now, we see and treat many patients with stress-related symptoms, such as:
- Upset stomach
- Nausea or diarrhea
- Body pains
- Skin rashes
- High blood pressure
If you feel like you’re constantly battling a case of the sniffles or another illness, stress may be to blame. Studies show that higher stress levels can also lower your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to infection.
Top Ways to Reduce Stress
If stress is already a part of your life, here are some ways to reduce stress and its impact on your health:
- Take time to unwind – Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate, or spend time doing other activities you enjoy.
- Keep a journal – Writing down your thoughts can help you process and feel better about them.
- Connect with others – Talk with people you trust about your concerns and share experiences together.
- Give back – Helping someone else can do as much good for you as it does for them.
How to Prevent Stress in the Future
Staying physically healthy is a huge part of preventing stress, or at least preventing harmful reactions to it. You can improve your ability to cope with future stress by doing the following:
- Eat healthy – Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid foods that contain unhealthy fats, salt, and added sugars.
- Get plenty of sleep – Adults need 7+ hours of sleep each night.
- Exercise regularly – Every bit of physical activity helps. Aim for 30 minutes per day at least.
- Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, or using drugs – Many people use unhealthy behaviors to cope with stress, which can lead to more problems in the long run.
- Prioritize your health – Visit your doctor regularly and stay up to date on screenings and vaccines.
Don’t Stress – MD Now Is Here When You Need Us
MD Now offers high-quality healthcare to patients across Florida, with state-of-the-art clinics that operate around your schedule. All patients are typically seen and treated in less than an hour, and no appointment is necessary—just walk in.
About MD Now® Urgent Care
MD Now urgent care is Florida’s largest urgent care operator with more than 85 state-of-the-art clinics conveniently located across Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Saint Lucie, Sarasota, and Seminole Counties. MD Now urgent care’s physician-led team of healthcare professionals provides high-quality healthcare through a comprehensive lineup of urgent care, preventative healthcare, and occupational health services during convenient hours. MD Now urgent care is proud to be affiliated with HCA Florida Healthcare. For more information, visit www.MDNOW.com.