Why too much stress is unhealthy

Stress is actually a defense mechanism. We recognize a danger or threat, and our body primes us to think and act quickly. However, chronic stress (or daily, unrelenting feeling of pressure and panic)  floods us with hormones that wreak havoc on our health and our emotions. Read these facts that show why too much stress is unhealthy.

How our body reacts to stressful situations

When we face a problem, our body sends out an internal 911 call: it alerts the amygdala (the decision-maker, or 911 controller), which then signals the hypothalamus or hormone production center to send out adrenaline, cortisol and epinephrine. Cortisol boosts our blood sugar so we have more energy at our disposal. Epinephrine makes our heart blood pump faster to bring oxygen into our muscles. You are now more alert and able to fight a problem or flee from it.

Back in the days when the problem was a saber tooth tiger who wanted to eat you, this stress mechanism would have saved your life. But unfortunately, the body can’t distinguish a “real” threat from an “imagined” threat.  For example, a deadline may cause stress so you can work faster. Worrying about a deadline will produce the same flood of hormones even if it is “all in our head.”

This can lead to a constant, chronic state of stress as we rush from one responsibility to the other, and continue to think about the problems once we get home. Essentially, we are living in a 24-hour emergency. The saber tooth tiger doesn’t go away.

Chronic stress affects your brain

Numerous studies show that constant stress actually affects our brain structure. Since cortisol levels are always high, it hardwires the pathways between the amygdala and hippocampus so that we actually stay in a state of stress. There are also research that people who experienced severe and chronic stress in their youth were more prone to anxiety and mood problems.

Chronic stress affects your body

Stress has been linked to a higher risk for heart disease, heart attacks, angina and strokes. It overtaxes the heart and leads to blood pressure problems, and the amygdala prompts the body to produce extra white blood cells, which can cause inflammation of the arteries.

The flood of stress hormones also affect your testosterone levels, causing sexual dysfunction (such as lower libido or erectile dysfunction).

Cortisol can also affect your skin’s ability to produce collagen, which means you are more likely to experience fine lines, wrinkles, sagging, and dull skin.

Chronic stress affects your quality of life

Stress can lead to wild mood swings, which can affect relationships and our reputation at work or in the community. It can also escalate into depression, or trigger very unhealthy coping mechanisms: smoking, overeating, and drinking.

Stress management is an important part of your physical and emotional well-being.

Understand your BMI (body mass index) and body fat percentage

The overwhelming majority of folks out there are going to measure their health and wellness based off of their height and their weight (and probably how they feel), but you can get a much more accurate representation of where you are health wise – and fitness wise – by understanding your BMI and body fat percentage.

By the time you’re done with all of the information in this quick guide you will really understand exactly how these two figures paint an accurate picture of your health and wellness, and how you can use tracking these two figures to create the kind of body that you’ve always wanted while leading a happy and healthy lifestyle!

What is BMI?

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is essentially a number of that takes your height and your weight into account and comes up with a ratio that allows you to better understand exactly where you are in comparison to where you should be avoided comes to your weight.

Medical experts have been able to really hone in on a specific range of weights that are perfect for people of particular heights, finding an optimal range that allows people to lead healthy lifestyles without having to worry about carrying extra fat around that hinders them in a variety of different ways.

Your BMI will tell you whether or not you are in that “sweet spot” range or just outside of it on either end – letting you know exactly what you have to do with your diet and exercise habits to better transform your body with a lot less effort.

What is the Body Fat Percentage?

You are also going to want to make sure that you understand exactly how much of your body weight is body fat and how much is muscle, bone, and water.

Your weight doesn’t paint a total picture in regards to your health simply because all three of those components combine to create your total body weight.

You could be sitting just outside your ideal BMI but have a body fat percentage of about 10% (right around the body fat percentage level that most fitness cover models have to show off their abs and look really cut), and unless you know exactly what your body fat percentages you might be inclined to change your diet without really having to.

Armed with this information, you’ll be able to make the right changes to your dietary and exercise habits to hit both your BMI and your body fat percentage goals. These are much better numbers to pay attention to than just your overall weight.

Major health benefits of sleep

Even though there really isn’t anything better than a nice cozy bed, the overwhelming majority of folks report having tough time getting enough sleep – and even if they get plenty of time between the sheets, many report that the quality of sleep they get is pretty low.

You need to do everything in your power to change that ASAP.

There are a lot of big benefits to getting in some solid sack time, and we are going to break down some of the most important in this quick guide.

Your memory will improve

When you aren’t able to get in on enough sleep you aren’t able to kind of let go of the mental stress and pressure that you have been dealing with, and after a while all of that stress and pressure is going to build up considerably until you pop.

All of a sudden your memory goes right out the window, your ability to learn really starts to lag behind, and you’re nowhere near as sharp as you need to be. Getting more sleep – and better quality sleep, at that – and your memory and your clarity of thinking will improve across the board.

Kick inflammation to the curb

Inflammation manifests itself in a number of different ways in the human body, but all of them are destructive.

Arthritis, diabetes, premature aging, a terrible complexion, and a bunch of other conditions are all signs and symptoms of inflammation happening in the body. Thankfully though, you’ll be able to dramatically reduce the amount of inflammation that you are dealing with just by making the change to getting in a little bit extra solid sack time in the future.

You will live longer

Your body uses the time that you spend sleeping to rest, recuperate, recover, and repair all of the damage that happens on a day to day basis and when you warrant getting enough sleep you aren’t letting your body repair yourself as much as possible.

By squeezing at least another extra hour of sleep into your schedule, you’ll be able to dramatically improve your health and well-being. You can find the Found in of Youth with a visit to The Sandman!

All things considered, you’ll want to be sure that you’re getting at least seven hours of sleep every night and that those seven hours are as continuous and as restful as possible. That’s the only way to unlock the major health benefits of sleep!