Nobody likes feeling the effects of mental stress. But the way that our world is structured now seems almost designed to foster stress and create anxiety in all of us. Fighting stress for mental health is a crucial part of maintaining and improving your mental health. But more than that, mental stress can cause physical health issues too, that are just as detrimental as the mental health impact of stress. But how does an emotion like stress end up causing physical issues? Here are three physical health issues that can be caused by mental stress.
The first physical health issue that mental stress can cause is digestive health issues. Everything from acid reflux to indigestion and even constipation can be caused by stress affecting you mentally. While you may think that your brain and gut are separate, in reality, your gut has its own neural network. The gut is even sometimes known as the second brain, due to its nerve cells and the guts production of neurochemicals. When you are stressed, this can cause your body to go into fight or flight mode, which can increase acid production in your stomach, tighten your gut, and make you feel uncomfortable.
Another physical health issue that can be caused by mental stress is having trouble sleeping. If you have ever felt trouble falling or staying asleep because of racing thoughts and anxiety, then you know exactly what we mean. Anxiety impacts more than 30% of the population at some point in their lives. When you are struggling with anxiety, your body produces more adrenaline, which primes your body for action. This can get in the way of other neurochemicals that are needed for inducing a restful sleep, keeping you tossing and turning all night.
The last physical health issue that can be caused by stress that we will discuss today is headaches. You probably already know that stress can be headache inducing, but you may not realize that it is literally your stress causing this pain. The chemicals produced when you are anxious, adrenaline and cortisol, can both cause headaches as a side effect. This can lead to throbbing headaches that keep you up and make you irritated, only increasing your overall stress.
Dealing with stress is both mentally and physically taxing. In fact, stress can cause all sorts of physical health issues if you don’t manage your stress effectively. If you are experiencing any of these three issues, it may be your stress that needs a check.
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