How Stress Impacts The Body
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In this episode, we are going to discuss how stress impacts your body. The Stress Response creates physical changes in your body and this happens outside of your conscious awareness. While stress is helpful in the short term, if we are in a state of stress over a prolonged period it can have negative effects on our body.
So in this episode, I am going to discuss some of the ways stress and anxiety can negatively impact your body. It is important to understand the mind-body connection and focus on your overall health with your recovery.
All right. Hello. And welcome to this episode. We're going to talk about stress and how it impacts the body. And so my name's Matt Codde and I'm a licensed clinical social worker. And on this episode, I want to dive into, I want to continue our conversation on stress that we've been having in this series. So we talked about, you know, the three types of stress and understanding how with psychological stress, you know, our, our mind is essentially creating these scenarios that is putting us in this perpetual state of stress, right? Or this chronic state of stress. And that's one of the unique challenges that people face at this period of time in humanity is that we are living in a chronic state of stress. Now it may be a lower level of stress than let's say life and death situations. And while there are people that live in those kinds of situations in this world, if you live in, you know, um, the States or, you know, a more, um, first world kind of nation, so to speak, um, in, in these cases, you know, you're probably not facing life and death scenarios all the time.
That doesn't mean you're not facing stress, right. Because what we've done is we've created this very fast pace of living where people just never turn off, right. You're going to work, you know, you know, from nine to five or eight to five, or maybe even you're working two jobs. Right. You know, because cost of living is just really high wherever you are. And then, you know, you have your children and, you know, your marriage or your relationships, right. And then you're navigating social, you know, um, relationships. And then you start stacking all these other things like, you know, being on call 24 seven at work, or just people being able to access you all the time. And then social media, where you're always tuned into that. And in all these things are, you know, little stressors that you're dealing with and because they just stack and stack and stack and stack your body can actually be in a perpetual state of stress.
Right. And, um, and that looks different for everyone. So they know the examples I listed that might not be your specific story. And that's okay. Because really what it's about figuring out is what are the stress, the stressors in your life? What are the major ones? And more importantly, how do you navigate them? You know, because stress, isn't an inevitable part of life, right? I mean, it's, it's gonna happen, but it also depends on what we do with it, you know, in our own minds. And do we, you know, do things to cope with it. Do we do things to, you know, release stress from our body? Do we do things, you know, to perpetuate it? Do we suppress it? Right. All these questions. Right. And so what I want to talk about in this episode is I just want to talk about how stress can impact the body.
Um, because what we need to understand is the fight or flight response or the stress response again, is designed for the short term, right? So our body into the state of survival, and when it does that are a lot of functions happen in your body, right? Your awareness is going to intensify, right. And so in many cases, um, when you are stressed about something, you know, you're going to see it in other places of your life, right. You're going to be hypervigilant to it. Um, and then also like your, your body goes into survival mode. So it does things like, it pumps blood into your major extremities, right. Your arms and legs. So you can run and fight, you know, better. Right. But it also suppresses different parts of your body that are designed for more long-term functioning. Right. So, um, you know, things like digesting food, right?
Your body actually suppresses that specific, or, you know, it slows down that function, right. Because your body's going into like, Hey, we need to live right now. What we don't need to worry about processing food. We can worry about that later. But what we need to understand is like, even something as simple as digestion, right. And digestive problems can be a symptom of, you know, chronic stress in our life. Right. So, and that's why conditions, you know, like IBS and things like that. Right. It's like those conditions are tied in correlated to, you know, stress, right. And, um, and ulcers and obviously stuff like that, because what's happening is your body's in this survival state for too long. And then there's secondary effects of having your body in that state for, you know, uh, too long of a period. Right. Um, and so our ability to regulate, and, and self-regulate more importantly, like really get ourself into a calm state, especially when nothing's happening right now is so, so critical, not just for our own psychological wellbeing, but for our physical wellbeing.
Right. Because it's gonna, it's going to take a toll physically on the body. You know, another, um, area that gets impacted right. Is your libido or your sex drive. Right. And like it, cause again, if you're in a survival state, you're not going to be thinking about reproducing, right. So that's going to be impacted as well. And, um, you know, it, and there's just all these processes in the body that are very natural, that again, get impacted by a chronic level of stress. And so, um, you know, and, and we can go ahead and link in, and like I said, the book, why zebras don't get ulcers. I mean, he goes in detail, you know, whether it's heart disease, right. Because your heart's pumping too fast. Um, you know, um, as well as clogged arteries and all these other things from high levels of cortisol, I mean, you know, we can go list.
Every single thing that that is, is, um, is going on in the body. But the, the reality is the point of this, this episode, what I wanted to really dive into is the idea that when you're in a state of stress for a prolonged period of time, it's going to have negative impacts on your body, right. Not just mentally, but literally your physical body. And so, and, and then that's why it's like, it makes no sense to me when people about like mental health and physical health, right. It's like, it's, it's your whole health that we're really focusing on. Right. And like a restored minds, it's not just, we don't just focus on mental health, but we realize how mental health also impacts our physical health as well as our emotional health and our spiritual health. Right. And, and so when it comes to, you know, our stress regulation like that, that is such an important tool for us to learn as individuals, right.
We it's, it's something that I think many of us ignore, or we use these coping mechanisms that are short-term fixes, but not in any way long-term helpful or healthy solutions, right. If you're using chemicals, right. You know, whether it be, you know, alcohol or marijuana or anything like that to cope with your stress, that doesn't, that doesn't, um, that doesn't help you with stress over longterm. Right. It just simply suppresses it over the short term and in the same stress surfaces up once the effect of that chemical wears off. Right. So your ability to navigate stress is important, not just for your own mental health, but also for the physical toll, it takes on your body. And so what I want to do in this series, I want to talk about, um, you know, some ways for self-regulation, right. You know, as far as things you, you can be doing, you know, to making sure that you're not creating more stress psychologically in your mind, right.
We, we already have the regular things we have to deal with in our rate day-to-day life, but then there's also all the things that we add on mentally and, um, and how we cope with those things. So in this series, you know, I was just wanted to kind of just introduce the idea of the stress body connection, right. And like, obviously it's connected, but I want to just talk about some of the major ways that that can impact you. And some of the things that you might start seeing in your own life that might be a good indicator. Like, Oh, Hey, maybe I'm dealing with a little more stress than I'm even aware of. Right. So, um, you know, things like digestive problems, as well as, you know, if you're noticing like heart palpitations and, um, you know, just paying attention to your body. I mean, like what a, what an important reminder that is for us, especially just because we can get so lost in our distractions and so busy that we can even miss what the body's even telling us.
So, um, so anyways, I just wanted to kind of cover that at a high level today with the stress and body connection. And then in the, um, in the next episode, I want to talk about stress and depression, um, because I want to talk about how those are correlated. And then I finally want to dive into some, um, self-regulation tips and techniques to make sure that, you know, you're handling your stress, um, in a healthy way and allowing your body to process it, allowing your body to recover. Um, because again, we want to focus on our long-term health as opposed to our short term comfort. So thanks so much for taking the time to hang out today. And again, if you found it helpful, we'd really appreciate it. If you'd like and subscribe and, um, you know, leave a comment on iTunes and, uh, and just let us know any, uh, ideas for future episodes that you'd like us to make.
And, um, and also we have some resources for you over restored minds and down in the links below, um, for additional trainings, as well as, um, free meditations and other downloads you can take with you on your journey to, you know, just navigate the regular stress and anxiety that we experience, um, on a week to week basis. So thanks so much again for, uh, for tuning in today. And I will see you guys next week as we continue this series on stress and the body and how it impacts us. So have a great week and I'll see you guys soon.