With the holidays rolling in, whether we want them here or not, there are probably stresses being introduced into your life at this time that aren’t present during other times of the year. We can all picture Clark Griswold from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation breaking down and cutting through a banister with a chainsaw because of the holiday stress, and we probably will all feel like that at some point during this season. Being cautious of allowing too much stress into your life is not only a good mental practice, to limit breakdowns, but also a great practice for the sake of your physical well-being. It’ll affect your various systems in the following ways:

Breathing:

Unfortunately, stress is going to make you breathe harder, that’s just how the low-calorie cookie is going to crumble. It’s not too terrible of a problem for most people, but those with asthma or other respiratory illnesses are going to feel those effects worse than others. There are also current studies that claim acute stresses, like the death of a loved one or losing a job, will actually cause an asthma attack as a sort of panic attack response. In regard to panic attacks, you may be living with symptoms like that while stressing, such as hyperventilation. In order to combat this, meditation and breathing exercises are recommended. Your wellness coach or therapist would most likely be able to help you with this.

Hormones:

Your adrenal glands are going to kick into overdrive during stressful situations, they’re located by your kidneys and they’re what are responsible for rendering back pain as a stress symptom. You’ll start producing cortisol and epinephrine, which is your body’s fight or flight process kicking in, which explains the fast heartbeat and lump in your throat. Your liver then responds to the release of these hormones by dropping more glucose into your bloodstream to power that fight-or-flight. Most will be able to just absorb that extra blood sugar, but people who are susceptible to Type 2 diabetes will actually grow closer to having Type 2, rather than borderline. This is especially important for the obese and people with Type 2 diabetes in their family.

Muscles:

When you’re stressed, your muscles are going to get really tense. This goes back to that fight-or-flight response; your body is trying to protect against injury or pain that it thinks is coming. Conditions like chronic stress will have your muscles always tense, which can actually promote stress-related disorders. Migraines are, in fact, associated with chronic stress; these are classified as tension-type headaches. This will affect your ability to work out properly as well as your heart rate. How you’re storing sugar may change, which will throw off your attempts at successful weight loss and maintaining rounded nutritional options.  

Looking for the continuation? Catch the best ways to cope with these symptoms and a few more of the adverse effects in our part two!

Excited to get started on becoming a better you? Real Life Nutrition was created to help real people find plans that can help them become their best self. Through a steady diet of motivation, good foods, and exercise we’re hoping to get you to the point where daily stresses are easily shrugged off and dealt with in a way that will help you avoid the more unpleasant symptoms of chronic stress listed in our blog series. Feel free to contact us to get started on the new you just in time for the new year.