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Does Stress Cause Anxiety? Here are the facts.

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Does stress cause anxiety? Stress forms such a part of our daily lives that it is almost impossible to completely avoid it. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as certain stress can be good for you and will keep you from harm or push you to perform your best. The problem starts when you have too much of the wrong stress in your life to the point where it becomes debilitating for you. It can have an immense impact on your physical and mental health and the effects of stress on anxiety alone sometimes causes the sufferer to experience worse symptoms brought on by the condition as a result.

Health Conditions Caused By Stress

When the body experiences stress in any form, be it intense or chronic stress, or just regular little stresses, it goes into overdrive mode and works a lot harder than it usually would, putting a lot of strain on your systems. Exposing your body to stress over prolonged periods of time, will most certainly cause any, or a combination of any, of the following health conditions:


* Insomnia

When under stress, your body produces energy and this can keep you awake, regardless of how tired you feel, and if this happens over long periods of time, you may develop Insomnia.

You have insomnia when you have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep. As a result, you never feel well-rested and most of your day is spent walking around in a “foggy” state of mind. This could also be a side effect of anxiety that is flared up by the onset of stress. Try to limit your caffeine and food intake from a few hours before bed. Limit your “screen” time, meaning get off your PC or put down your cell phone, at least an hour before bed. These are just a few ways you can alleviate insomnia.

* Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your body is unable to produce or to deal with the insulin hormone and as a result, your blood glucose levels are extremely high. In a healthy body, insulin is produced in the pancreas and assists glucose from food to access cells in order to be converted to energy to keep you going.
Stress hormones, like cortisol, raise blood sugar in order to produce energy for the stressful event or situation and your body struggles to bring those levels back down, which could lead to diabetes.

* Heart disease

It’s in the name. Your heart is sick. When you have a heart disease, your veins are narrowed or blocked which may lead to a heart attack or stroke. The disease could also affect the heart’s muscles or rhythm, which can cause for some really scary scenarios. Matters of the heart are not to be taken lightly!

During stressful situations or periods, the area of your brain that deals with stress send signals to your bone marrow to produce more white blood cells than it usually would, which could lead to inflamed arteries, which in turn could lead to heart disease. Our bodies also release a lot of stress hormones – cortisol and adrenaline – which may cause your blood pressure to rise or make you more likely to indulge in unhealthy, stress-inducing habits like smoking or overeating, all of which may cause heart disease.

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* High blood pressure

Hypertension, also known as High Blood Pressure, is a condition where the pressure in your blood vessels are very high or higher than it should be. It’s quite a scary condition, as you get little to no symptoms of it, so do be sure to have yours tested at least once a year. When your blood pressure is high, your heart is busy pumping blood through your veins at an accelerated rate and that causes an increased pressure on the walls of your veins which can damage them and cause cardiovascular disease.

It is important to remember here that stress does not directly cause Hypertension. Even though stress does cause your blood pressure to rise, it usually goes back down once the stressful situation has passed.

* Autoimmune diseases

If you are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, it means that your immune system has developed “depression”. It just doesn’t have the will to fight and protect your body like it always does. With its armies left without leadership, they do nothing to stop those evil little bacteria and foreign enemies from attacking your cells and making you feel miserable. Instead, they lose the plot and start attacking their own side – your healthy cells!

Studies have proven that stress hormones have a negative effect on the immune system and cause inflammation which is known to be associated with autoimmune diseases.

* Depression

When you have depression, you feel sad, helpless, worthless and worst of all, hopeless about everything – yourself, your surroundings, your future, you name it… It’s a terrible disease … AnxietyPanda is really happy that this is a treatable disease, so don’t hesitate to get help if you think you might be depressed!

When you are stressed, your body produces lots of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline and stops producing the happy, feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine, and this may cause you to become depressed.

* Anxiety

The anxious person is always on edge, nervous, worried about the future and usually set to “Ready to defend!” mode by default.

A stressful event or interaction may lead to many anxious thoughts. Like if someone told you a terrible secret about someone else and you are not allowed to tell anybody, then you may become anxious because you’re always scared of getting “caught” and letting the cat out of the bag and thereby hurting the people around you… something like that?


In conclusion, when you are exposed to stress over prolonged periods of time, your body and its systems become so overworked that literally all start functioning at less than optimal levels and everything starts breaking down.

Of course, your body will try to compensate by sending in the stronger systems to fight which will throw everything into further chaos and cause havoc with your hormones and brain chemistry.

It is conclusive that stress can indeed cause anxiety.

So, how much is “too much” stress?

The answer to this depends on the person and their circumstances. Everybody is wired differently and respond differently to situations and feelings. Just keep an eye out for the warning signs and act immediately to alleviate them once spotted.

Warning signs include irritability and losing your temper quicker than normal, you may have difficulty sleeping, you may

become depressed or want to turn to stimulants to help you relax and you may even start noticing some digestive troubles, headaches, and other physical ailments.

Be aware of the above symptoms and take action when needed. In the meantime, start preparing yourself – learn ways and techniques to release stress and relax, change to a healthy lifestyle (this can be attempted gradually and doesn’t have to happen all at once) and practice self-care and self-love habits on a daily basis.

Healing the Damage

Your body is a complicated and well-designed maze of magical activity. It is constantly busy regenerating new cells as old ones die off and thus, in essence, your body is practically able to heal itself – although some parts more than others – and it is definitely capable of reversing the damage that stress may have left on it.

Meditate

When practiced on a daily basis, meditation has been proven to improve longevity and quality of life. There are many ways for you to learn meditation. There are many free resources on the web, training on Youtube and even Apps, like HeadSpace that will make your journey much easier.

Maintain a Healthy Diet with Regular Exercise

AnxietyPanda cannot put enough emphasis on the importance of following a well-balanced, nutrient and vitamin-rich, diet. Combined with a light exercise routine (you only need 21 minutes a day!) these two habits will definitely go a long way toward healing and reversing the damages caused by stress and also equip you with the right mindset to manage and deal with your stress in the future.

Sleep

The magical time when your body regenerates. Sleep is the main captain that helps all of our systems to function normally and in optimal condition. You know the old saying: “There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep” It’s so true. Try to always get at least 7 hours of quality sleep per day.

A Final Word

There is no doubt in AnxietyPanda’s mind that stress definitely plays a role in the onset of anxiety. Educate yourself, and learn to recognize the symptoms of too much stress, before it’s too late. Remember, what you put in, you will get out. Treat yourself well. Love yourself enough to take care of yourself!

Please feel free to leave any questions or feedback you may have in the comments or send us a mail at info@anxietypanda.org

Panda-love <3

 

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  1. Clay Clay

    Hey great post. I have lived with high anxiety my whole life. Medication never really worked for me. The practices you highlighted are my go to. When I am consistent, life goes a lot smoother. The meditation is extremely difficult for me, as I’m sure it is for others, so thanks for the reminder.

    • AnxietyPanda AnxietyPanda

      Glad you stopped by, Clay!

      Like you, AnxietyPanda is not a big fan of medication an prefers the natural route above all! And, yes, meditation is very difficult to master, but once mastered it is like riding a bike – you don’t forget how 😉

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