Stress can cause a number of physical symptoms and diseases, especially for women. Women naturally contain more of the hormone oxytocin, but they also need more emotional support to boost levels and maintain their emotional health. Our bodies are hardwired to protect itself from stressful situations, which worked well in the stone ages, but now we stress out about things that aren’t really inherently stressful. Think about when your heart raced the last time you got stuck in traffic. This can affect our health in many ways. Here some ways stress can manifest into physical conditions in women:
- Eating disorders are unfortunately common in women. Eating disorders and depression in general are linked to low levels or serotonin. This can happen when you’re very stressed.
- Stress can cause a multitude of stomach issues too. Either stress in general can upset your stomach or it can cause you to overeat or eat junk foods, which upset your stomach too. Common stomach issues related to stress are cramps, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), heart burn, weight loss or weight gain.
- Your skin can also break out in acne, itchy rashes and hives when you’re under stress.
- Stress also affects your sleep and concentration. It can cause you to have trouble falling or staying asleep and can make it hard to focus the next day.
- Stress can eventually turn into depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses.
- Stress can even eventually lead to illness, even something more serious like heart disease or cancer.
So how do you improve stress to keep yourself healthy? Here are some tips:
- Eat healthy. Skip the junk food and load up on fruits, veggies and protein.
- They say “exercise is the most under-utilized antidepressant and healthy food is the most under-utilized anti-anxiety medication”. Make time for exercise, even if it is simply a walk in the park to lower stress levels.
- Be social. Studies show, especially for women, making time for friends and family is crucial to your emotional and physical health.
- Find your favorite relaxing activity. It could be coloring, painting, writing, reading, yoga, meditation or any activity you enjoy that relaxes you.
- If you find you are feeling suicidal or cannot handle your stress, see a doctor right away.
Have you ever had a physical condition that was caused by stress? What is your favorite stress-relieving activity? Share with us!