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5 Surprising Ways Stress Affects Your Health and How to Combat Them

What Is Stress?

Whether it’s a short term frustration like a long line at Starbucks or a major life event like a divorce, psychological stress can affect our bodies.

Though a little bit of stress is certainly more than normal, about 70% of doctor visits and 80% of serious illnesses are exacerbated by stress.

The good news is that exercise, meditation and more can reduce the impact of stress on your life. Here are 5 ways stress can affect your body.

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Cravings

Studies have linked cortisol, a hormone released during times of stress, to cravings for sugar and fat. Hello daydreams about chocolate…

The key is to know your triggers and to be prepared with healthy snacks in order to avoid the vending machine and emotional eating. Pack a bag of popcorn or an apple in your work bag that you can turn to if you suddenly get hungry.

Fat Storage

Part of the link between stress and fat storage is due to emotional eating during stressful times. Cortisol released during stressful times also increases the amount of fat tissue your body hangs onto and enlarges the size of fat cells.

Luckily, exercise minimizes the effects stress and reduces belly fat!

Insomnia

While major stressful events can cause insomnia that ends once the stress is gone, long-term exposure to stress, such having as a stressful day-to-day job, also disrupts sleep schedules.

To avoid sleeping troubles, make sure your surroundings are conducive to a good sleep by closing your blinds and lowering your AC. Also, try yoga after work to calm your body down.

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Hair

Noticing more hair in your hairbrush than usual?  While the research is mixed, it is thought that stress can cause hair loss. Stress and anxiety can also cause trichotillomania, a disorder that causes people to an urge to pull out hair on their bodies, including eyelashes and eyebrows.

But, don’t fret! There is little evidence that stress turns your hair gray.

Blood Pressure

A stressful situation can temporarily raise your blood pressure by constricting your blood vessels and speeding up your heart rate. Once the stressful time passes, your blood pressure should return to its normal state.

Natural ways to reduce blood pressure include exercise, diet and meditation.

 

Source: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20642595_3,00.html

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