I’m not sure if you already knew this, but feeling stress is natural and happens to everyone as a reaction to different life experiences. In the short-term, stress is actually good for our health because it helps our bodies to survive and manage difficult situations. In the long-term though, elevated levels of stress can be harmful. This kind of stress is known as chronic stress.

Here are a few ways stress affects your body:

1. Lack of sleep

Stress causes something known as hyperarousal; where there is an imbalance between sleep and wakefulness. This can make it hard for you to fall asleep, and hard for you to stay asleep.

If you’re dealing with this, try noting down the things stressing you out, and try and cultivate a wind-down routine preparing your body for sleep, maybe taking a bath, reading a book, or stretching.

2. Headaches

While there isn’t a real classification of headaches known as stress headaches, it’s a known fact that stress can make headaches works or cause migraines.

Experts recommend trying relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises or yoga. They also suggest that getting the right amount of sleep and regular exercise can also help to reduce stress.

3. Increased blood pressure

When stress hormones are released in the body they cause blood vessels to tighten, leading to increased blood pressure.

If your blood pressure is particularly high it can cause organ damage, so if you’re regularly stressed for long periods of time it really might be worth completely changing your lifestyle.

4. Issues with sex and fertility

Stress takes a toll on libido and can affect the process of getting an erection. It can also make it more difficult for you to conceive, as it has a negative impact on the reproductive systems of both men and women.

Concerned this has happened to you? See a reproductive specialist or fertility expert.

5. Weak immune system

A stressed body is a lot less effective at fighting disease than a non-stressed body, making it a lot easier to get sick and catch infections.

It might be helpful to take immune support tablets, or to up your intake of fruits and vegetables.

Femi A-Williams is a health and fitness convert trying to reconcile a healthy lifestyle and a happy food life. She is 80% whole grain and 20% donut.

All posts by Femi A-Williams