How Stress Affects Your Body

Stress hurts more than just your head. It can and will f#$k up your entire body, starting with your brain right down to your gut.

Stress is a mother f$@ker. And yet people love to spontaneously proclaim how busy they are. We suspect it’s either their social retardedness (because really, no one gives a flying fart about your work life) or that work is the only thing they have in life. So they plow away at the office, get frustrated, yell, eat sh!tty food, crunch paper, yell some more, and at the end of the week – go binge drinking. Repeat this cycle for a year or even a couple of months, and your body will eventually call it quits. Why ‘body’ you ask? Well, my overworked friend, mental stress affects your entire body. And it starts from the top:

The Stress Hormones

When you’re cracking your head over a problem, your brain releases stress hormones called Cortisol and Norepinephrine. Produced from your adrenal glands, these hormones are meant to help by keeping you alert, focused, maintaining your blood pressure, and other functions that help you “survive” [1]. Problem is, it takes a few days for your body to dispose of those hormones, but your dumbass starts it up all over again 9 AM the next day. So, if your body continually produces these hormones, it will lead to the following f*ckups:

Immune System Break Down

Notice how you get the flu easily after long work weeks? That’s because cortisol suppresses your immune system, too much of it can inhibit histamine secretion and inflammatory response to viral infections. Your immune system gets so shot up that little b!tch wounds will take longer to heal. Oh and kiss your ass good bye if you get the influenza.

The Big C

Cancer. Not cock. It would be awesome is stress gave you a bigger cock, but no. But of course stress doesn’t cause cancer but it sure does help it grow. Norepinephrine and epinephrine (another stress hormone) encourage cancer cells to go metastasis, meaning if cancer cells were dollar bills, stress is ‘making it rain’ all over your body.

Sexual Dysfunction

Don’t feel like putting on Marvin Gaye and busting out The Rabbit? That’s because Cortisol suppresses your libido [2]. On the long run, it may even lead to decreased testosterone and impotence in men [3] and can mess up the pituitary gland, which controls the thyroid and ovaries for ladies [4]. All of which lead to fertility problems.

Stomach Disorders & Diabetes

Stress forces your liver to produce glucose to help you with energy. Hours in ‘The War Room’ will obviously confuse the sh!t out of your liver and it won’t know when to stop. Soon your body won’t be able to keep up with this extra glucose surge, and you’ll be on the express train to type 2 diabetes. As for stomach disorders, stress causes the following lovely things to your gut:

  • Decreased nutrient absorption
  • Decreased oxygenation to your gut
  • As much as four times less blood flow to your digestive system, which leads to decreased metabolism
  • Decreased enzymatic output in your gut – as much as 20,000-fold [5]

And as the nerds at Harvard put it; “Psychology combines with physical factors to cause pain and other bowel symptoms. Psychosocial factors influence the actual physiology of the gut, as well as symptoms. In other words, stress (or depression or other psychological factors) can affect movement and contractions of the GI tract, cause inflammation, or make you more susceptible to infection.” [6]

Cardiovascular Attack

Norepinephrine comes with the awesome gift of increasing your heart rate and dispersing bacterial biofilms from the walls of your arteries. This dispersal can allow plaque deposits to break loose out of nowhere, and bam – heart attack. Fun fact: More heart attacks occur on Mondays than any other day of the week [7], this is known as “Monday cardiac phenomenon”, yay!

When stress becomes chronic like Dr. Dre’s first album, your immune system becomes increasingly desensitised to Cortisol. And since inflammation is the mother of all illnesses, and it is partly regulated by Cortisol, this decreased sensitivity heightens the inflammatory response and allows inflammation to get out of control [8], like Dr. Dre’s net worth. Here’s the other fun stuff that stress can lead to:

  • Hypertension
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia and fatigue
  • Memory loss
  • Digestive problems and dysbiosis

So kids, manage your stress. I don’t know, maybe all that hippie sh!t does have a point – don’t take work too seriously. Go out more, travel more, workout more, eat better, meditate, have crazy sex, do stupid sh!t and laugh about it, and for fook sake have fun. You only have one go at this thing called life, make the most of it.

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