5 Ways Chronic Stress Affects Your Life (And Three Tools You Can Use Today to Change This!)

Jan 20, 2023by
5 Ways Chronic Stress Affects Your Life (And Three Tools You Can Use Today to Change This!)

You might not be able to avoid stress entirely, but there’s a lot you can do to minimize its toll on your body.

Understanding the Natural Stress Response 

Have you ever wondered what actually happens in your body when you face a stressful situation? 
When you encounter a perceived threat, your hypothalamus, a tiny region in your brain, sets off an alarm system in your body. This system prompts your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.
Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain's use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.

However, cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or harmful in a fight-or-flight situation. For example, it alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with the brain regions that control mood, motivation and fear. In other words, in the face of danger, you will experience physical, emotional, and mental changes.

This is super helpful when you're in danger. The problem arises when the body perceives threat everywhere, every day: That is, when you are facing chronic stress. 

The Effects of Chronic Stress on Your Body 

When the stress response keeps triggered, day after day, it could put your health at serious risk. Here are 5 ways chronic stress might affect your life: 

1. Sleep problems.

2. High blood pressure.

3. Weakened immune system. 

4. Hormone problems ( fertility, low sex drive, menstrual irregularities). 

5. Your relationships.  

Because these factors affect each other, you might realize, for example, that lack of sleep affects your immunity, and hormonal balance, both of which influence your behaviors, thus causing communication and relationship issues. You might find yourself over/under eating, have angry outbursts. You might lack motivation, experience social withdrawals, fatigue, irritability. Low sex drive might affect your relationship with your partner. You might often be sad, or experience mood swings. 

Three Tools You Can Use to Manage Stress 

There are multiple tools one can use to manage stress- my favorites are meditating on a regular basis, community support, therapy, and a nourishing diet and supplementation. As part of the latter, here are three tools that have been proven helpful:

1. Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha can help regulate your body’s stress hormone, cortisol, which can make you feel more calm and potentially soothe adrenal fatigue - a condition that causes extreme exhaustion, body aches, and muscle pain - by supporting the brain-adrenal (HPA) axis, too. Research shows significant reduction in cortisol levels and self-reported stress and anxiety symptoms in those taking ashwagandha. Many studies have demonstrated the calming effects of ashwagandha. One study showed that people who took just two months of ashwangandha supplements had reductions in anxiety of up to 44 percent. Our Magic Mushroom Mix does not only have this stress-reducing and immunity-building adaptogen: It also includes yummy cocoa, chaga, reishi, lucuma, and cinnamon, all of which have additional benefits!

2. Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3s are responsible for keeping your hormones happy and healthy. Many studies show that omega-3s are able to reduce stress after just 6 weeks of supplementations. That said, what we do regularly, on a daily basis, is what matters the most. Make sure to include healthy fats to your diet, as salad dressings, in Buddha bowls, or as a part of your healthy breakfast.

3. Magnesium. A significant percentage of the population is not getting enough magnesium. This is unfortunate, because magnesium helps regulate cortisol levels, keeps anxiety levels in check, and supports energy production. Pay attention to include these foods to your daily diet: Seeds such as pumpkin seeds and chia seeds, nuts such as almonds, and cashews, dried fruits, legumes, fruits like papayas and bananas, and leafy green vegetables like spinach. Keep alcohol, fizzy drinks and caffeine to a minimum. Consider adding sea vegetables as part of a balanced diet.

Please remember that what works for one person does not always work for the next. Having lab work done and working with a certified health care practitioner is the first step in taking control of your health. Please talk to your healthcare professional before adding supplements to your routine, and ask if they can advise on dosing.