Monday, 30 November -0001

7 Reasons why stress is something you shouldn’t ignore

Personal development and mental wellbeing app Remente ( comments on the health risks of ignoring stress.

Stress can prevent you sleeping
When left to build-up, stress can wreak havoc with your sleep, in some cases even leading to insomnia. The importance of sleep to both our physical and mental health is paramount. Severe lack of sleep can lead to increased risk of long term diseases and conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease, whilst also being linked to mental health disorders such as depression. Additionally, stress and lack of sleep can create a vicious circle, causing even more stress and leaving you unable to properly deal with the issues at hand.

Stress impacts relationships
In addition to having negative effects on your mental and physical wellbeing, ignoring long-term stress can also affect your relationships with those around you, such as friends, family and colleagues. Neuroscientists have found that even small levels of stress can impact our ability to keep control of our emotions, which can lead to us snapping at those around us. Consequently, the more stressed you are the more hypersensitive you become to the normal up's and down's of a relationship, overreacting when you would normally keep your cool.

Stress is linked to addiction
In attempt to cope and 'self-medicate' stress, a vast number of people will turn to substances such as alcohol, nicotine and other drugs. The problem with this is two-fold – the more you use a substance, the larger quantity of it is needed to achieve the same effect. Secondly, alcohol and nicotine don't actually help you deal with stress, instead creating a false impression of calm, without having to deal with the issues at hand. As a result, substance abuse can actually cause an additional problem to stress, causing stress recovery to take significantly longer.

Stress effects your memory
Prolonged feelings of stress and overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol actually prevents the brain from being able to form new memories. In addition to this, high levels of cortisol can also slow down our neurotransmitters, making it more difficult for brain cells to communicate and slowing down our ability to think straight and remember bits of information.

Stress can age you
Aside from the effects stress has on your mind, it can also cause premature ageing. Researchers have found that the structures on the end of chromosomes - known as telomeres, are shortened by stress. When telomeres become too short the cell can become damaged, leading to visible signs of aging such as wrinkles and frown lines.

Stress can lead to heart problems
When we get stressed, our bodies produced higher levels of stress hormones, which in turn make it into our blood stream and target our blood vessels and the heart. If you ignore stress over a prolonged period of time, it can cause the body's cardiovascular system to become overwhelmed and unable to deal with the hormones, which can lead to increased blood pressure and higher risks of heart disease as a result.

Stress can cause weight gain
While we often think that stress can lead to the loss of appetite, research has shown that long term stress can actually increase your hunger levels and consequently lead to weight gain. When we feel under pressure, our bodies start to produce more cortisol - the hormone associated with stress. High levels of this hormone can lead to higher insulin levels, which in turn causes low blood pressure and makes us crave fatty, sugary foods. Researchers at the University of Miami found that when under stress, people were likely to consume forty percent more food than normal – as overeating can lead to conditions such as obesity, diabetes and increased chances of heart disease, this side-effect of stress shouldn't be ignored.

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