How Stress Affects Your Body

Colin Badali - TED

Fantastic video @TED – Video

Stress is more than just an emotion.  It’s a hardwired physical response.  In the short-term, stress can be advantageous. However, prolonged stress can be damaging to our bodies.

Science has suggested that prolonged elevated cortisol is implicated in atherosclerosis, aka cholesterol buildup in the lining of our arteries.  The video also cites the “brain-gut connection”, which can lead to irritable bowel syndrome.  This might affect digestion, gut bacteria (which can affect overall health – alot of research going into this subject by the way).  High levels of cortisol can also lead to the development of deep or visceral fat.

Chronic stress is also associated with shortened telomeres, which essentially translates to accelerated aging.  Chronic stress can manifest itself in: acne, hair loss, sexual dysfunction, headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, and irritability.  For my readers, I’d like to emphasize that stress is not the only thing that contributes to all of the factors mentioned so far.  For example, atherosclerosis is absolutely linked to diet + exercise as well.

Conclusion: Stress in inevitable.  Bottom line, perhaps, as suggested at the end of the video, is how we respond to stress that counts.  Perhaps finding adequate coping strategies (exercise, yoga, warm bath, massage therapy etc.) is the key.

Colin Badali, RMT, CSCS