Harmful Effects of Stress

Effects of Stress

Most common health problems caused or worsened by stress

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Sexual dysfunction
    • Women – infertility, irregular cycles
    • Men – erectile dysfunction
  • Frequent colds
  • Sleeplessness and fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Changes in appetite

In the 21st Century we are actually under less stress. We are no longer in the food chain and struggling for survival. We do live longer so we are feeling its effects.

Most of our stress is caused by emotional and psychological stressors.

Common Psychological Stressors

  • No control
  • Not able to predict what will happen
  • No outlet for stress
  • Think it is getting worse
  • No social support or “shoulder to cry on”

Eliminating the problem or changing the way you perceive the situation is the most helpful long-term solution.

In the meantime, it is important to manage our stress response.

Doing daily relaxation exercises can help us reduce the effects of stress.


Harms of Stress

Yes, some stress in our lives is helpful and can make us more productive. But when it starts to get out of control, stress can be harmful. Stress symptoms often mimic symptoms of other problems. Our society is just beginning to recognize stress and mind-related causes for illness.

Nagging headaches, frequent forgetfulness or decreased productivity at work are major issues. The common denominator may be stress.

On your body On your thoughts and feelings On your behavior
  • Feeling stuck and rigid
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Pounding heart
  • High blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle aches
  • Back pain
  • Clenched jaws
  • Tooth grinding
  • Stomach upset
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased sweating
  • Tiredness
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Sex problems
  • Skin breakouts
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Worrying
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Mood swings
  • Job dissatisfaction
  • Feeling insecure
  • Confusion
  • Burnout
  • Forgetfulness
  • Resentment
  • Guilt
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Seeing only the negatives
  • Feeling that spiritual goals are not important
  • Sensual pleasures such as food and sexual cravings dominate life.
  • Overeating
  • Under eating
  • Angry outbursts
  • Drug abuse
  • Excessive drinking
  • Increased smoking
  • Excessive TV watching
  • Social withdrawal
  • Crying spells
  • Relationship conflicts
  • Decreased productivity
  • Blaming others
  • Inability to sit still
  • Inability to meditate
  • Pressure on inner self results in a feeling of anxiety

Source: Dealing with Everyday Stress Program, 3/31/2007 Milwaukee WI, Domo Geshe Rinpoche, White Conch Dharma Center


Reducing Stress

Tai Chi Qigong is An Effective Technique for Preventing and Easing Stress

Tai chi qigong stimulates the Relaxation Response

It can “reverse the cumulative effects of stress on the body”.

“The relaxation response alters the expression of genes involved with processes such as inflammation, programmed cell death and how the body handles free radicals – molecules produced by normal metabolism that, if not appropriately neutralized, can damage cells and tissues.” says Dr. Herbert Benson, Mind/Body Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School (retired).

The relaxation response stops the stress response and starts the healing process. It is the body’s natural antidote for stress. We need to relearn how to use it effectively.

Stress induced disease and debilitation is not part of the natural aging process.

We can stay flexible in our minds and bodies as we age!

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