Top 4 Places Stress Hides in Your Body
You’re stressed. You’re getting ready for work. Your body is getting ready for battle.
“I need to finish that report first thing. Can I get it done before my 9 a.m. meeting? Shoot, I forgot to call that client back. If I don’t leave in the next three minutes I’m going to hit the worst of rush hour traffic.”
Stress sends the brain into overdrive causing adrenaline and cortisol to release into the body. If you were getting ready for a strenuous battle and not another day of being an overworked office worker, this response would be helpful. Unfortunately, when we are exposed to a chronic stressor, the central nervous system (CNS) continues releasing these stress-related hormones. Understanding where stress harbors in the body is the first step to controlling it with lifestyle changes like an improved diet or using a handheld massager. Here are the 4 places your body is most affected by stress when each day is a theoretical battle.
1. The Cardiovascular System
When you’re stressed, your heart beats faster. This happens when cortisol, a stress hormone, causes your blood vessels to constrict. Pair this with a blockage and this solider (or accountant) could suffer from a heart attack or stroke. When under constant stress, your body starts to believe this new, higher blood pressure should be maintained consistently. This leads to the thickening of the heart muscles which can lead to heart disease.
2. The Gastrointestinal System
Have that empty, worried feeling in your stomach when you realize that report isn’t going to get done today? This “gut feeling” or “pit in your stomach” is stress in your gastrointestinal system (GI). When our GI is stressed, it can lead to a decrease in nutritional absorption as well as a lower metabolism. Chronic stress can lead to acid reflux, food allergies and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). When under stress, the liver produces extra glucose to give a slight boost of energy. When you are constantly under stress, your body can produce too much glucose. Excessive glucose can lead to the onset of type 2 diabetes, damaged arteries and obesity.
3. The Immune System
When we combine an increase in heart rate, excessive rates of stress hormones, and a disruption to the typical digestive process, it causes a suppressed immune system. Indirectly, some of the less-than-healthy habits that come with stress such as smoking, drinking, poor diet, less sleep and little-to-no exercise can also suppress the immune system. Fewer immune cells means a greater risk of illness or infection and there are no sick days on the battlefield (and only 3 per calendar year at the office).
4. The Musculoskeletal System
Our bodies are designed to walk, run, jump, sit and stand. Unfortunately, so many jobs require one and only one of these movements: sit. Stress paired with constantly sitting can lead to tension, inflammation, aches, pains and tightness.
Massages can reduce chronic pain, relax tight muscles, and improve sleep. In fact, recent studies found a reduction in cortisol (stress hormone) in saliva samples after the participant received a massage. Not everyone can afford a daily massage. Luckily, getting a deep tissue massage doesn’t mean a trip to the massage therapist.
With Wahl’s Deep-Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Massager, fight fatigue and relieve muscle pain from stress, uncomfortable office chairs and more. Equip your massager with one of the interchangeable heads and set to the desired intensity to bring the relaxation of a professional massage to your own living room. By reducing pent-up stress, your body will, even if just for a few minutes, stop preparing for battle and start preparing for whatever comes next.