Stress Affects your Body

The human body is designed to experience stress and to react to it. Stress becomes negative when someone deals with continuous challenges without any relief or relaxation in between. In the following article we'll explain how stress affects your body.
Stress Affects your Body

Last update: 07 March, 2019

Stress affects our bodies, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. That’s why it’s important to manage stress and learn how to recognize the most common symptoms associated with stress episodes.

In fact, poor management of stress can contribute to several health issues such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. In these cases, it’s important to take action and explore strategies to manage stress and obtain numerous health benefits.

So, if you want to eliminate stress or avoid the negative impact of stress in your life, we recommend that you regularly practice some type of physical activity. Equally, it’s advisable that you learn relaxation techniques, enjoy proper rest, maintain a good sense of humor and remain sociable. On the other hand, if you are not sure that stress is the cause of your symptoms, but these symptoms continue, you should consult a doctor to figure out the true cause.

stress affects your body

How does stress affect our bodies?

    1. Muscular system


First, you should know that one of the ways that your body deals with stress is by tensing your muscles in order to prepare them and protect them from a possible injury. Once you are back in a calm state, your muscles relax.

On the contrary, if you are constantly under stress, your muscles might not have the chance to relax. This can lead to muscular pain all over your body, and most commonly in your shoulders, back, and neck.

    2. Immune system

Secondly, you must be aware that stress stimulates your immune system. This can be beneficial for immediate situations since this stimulation will help in the prevention of infections and curing diseases.

Nevertheless, with time, stress hormones will end up debilitating your immune system and reducing the body’s reaction to viral diseases such as influenza, common colds and other types of infections. You should also take into consideration that stress can also increase the time your body needs to recover from an illness or injury.

“The scientific truth may be put quite simply; eat moderately, enjoy a mixed diet, and don’t worry.”

– Sir Robert Hutchinson, 1st Baronet –

    3. Digestive system

You should also know that, under stress, your liver will produce and release more sugar into your blood to give your body an energy boost. But if you are under chronic stress your body might not be able to keep up with the additional overload of glucose. For this reason, chronic stress is linked to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Likewise, stress hormones, fast breathing, and increased heart rate can also disturb the digestive system. In fact, you are more likely to suffer from acid reflux or heartburn when you are under stress. Also, even though it’s known that stress doesn’t cause stomach ulcers, it can increase the risk of suffering from them.  Stress can also affect the way the food moves through your body, provoking diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting or stomach ache.

    4. Respiratory and cardiovascular systems

Lastly, you should know that stress hormones affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. During your body’s response to stress, you will breath faster and harder. If you already have respiratory issues, such as asthma, stress can make it more difficult to breathe.

stress affects your body

The heart also pumps more blood during stressful episodes. In fact, stress hormones make the blood vessels thinner in order to divert more oxygen to your muscles. This way you will have more strength to react, but it will also increase your blood pressure. Therefore, during stress episodes, your heart will work harder and longer, and you will have a greater chance of suffering from a heart attack.

You should also be aware that stress becomes more damaging when people use alcohol, tobacco or drugs to alleviate the feeling. Unfortunately, instead of returning your body to a relaxed state, these substances tend to keep your body in stress mode, causing further issues.

Finally, we recommend that if you have any chest pain, specifically during physical activity, accompanied with difficulty breathing, sweating, nausea or dizziness you should seek emergency help right away as these symptoms can be associated with issues more serious than stress.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.