What happens to your body when you are chronically stressed?
The hypothalamus in your brain sends a signal to your adrenal glands to produce stress hormones. These neural pathways can trigger long-term changes in your brain’s structure and function – think mental disorders, anxiety and learning difficulties.
When cortisol and epinephrine are released, the liver produces more glucose, which would supply you with the energy for “fight or flight” in an emergency. If you’re not using all the energy, that extra blood sugar can lead to type-2 diabetes.
Think of it this way: your body’s secreting all those stress chemicals but there’s no immediate threat, so it stores fat around your internal organs to protect them from future risk. Translation: you’re going to gain weight. And FYI – if you’re constantly on a yo-yo diet, you could possibly be suffering the affects of diet burn out.
After a while, a process called proteolysis weakens your muscles – it breaks down proteins, so simple tasks, like lifting shopping bags, become harder. This happens when your cortisol levels stay high over a long time.
Your body’s freaking out so it loses its potassium – the stuff that stops other acids from sucking your calcium. In return, your bones struggle to absorb the milky mineral. If this goes on for much longer, you could end up with osteoporosis.
An imbalance in your levels of cortisol means your thyroid could be either underactive or overactive. Underactive means unexplained weight gain and constipation; overactive means weight loss and irregular heartbeat.
You’ve just woken up from a horrid night’s sleep and there it is – a big, stubborn pimple. It could be all that cortisol – it increases your skin’s oil production. Depigmented white spots on your skin can also be a result of chronic stress.
Feeling chronically stressed and worried you could be burning out fast? These are the 9 signs you’re burnt out.