The Impact of stress on the physical and the psychological health

The Impact of stress on the physical and the psychological health


Stress is a common response to life's challenges, both mentally and physically. In small amounts, stress can be beneficial as it can motivate you to perform better. However, when faced with daily struggles (i.e., traffic, illness, and bills) you may experience overwhelming stress that exceeds your coping abilities. Your brain has an inherent alarm system that activates in response to perceived threats, triggering the release of hormones that increase heart rate and blood pressure. This "fight-or-flight" response can help you deal with the threat, but ideally, your body should return to a relaxed state once the "danger" has passed. Unfortunately, the constant demands and expectations of modern life can keep some people's alarm systems activated for prolonged periods of time.

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Stress impact on the physical

  • The respiratory system can be affected, leading to fast breathing and breathing difficulties.
  • The musculoskeletal system: muscle ache/tension.
  • Cardiovascular system: increase blood pressure and long-term stress on the heart.
  • Endocrine system: when someone feels a situation is difficult, menacing, or out of control, the brain triggers a cascade of events resulting in the production of glucocorticoids, a type of steroid hormone.
  • Gastrointestinal system: stress has been shown to cause: changes to the gut bacteria which has also been shown to influence mood, induce bloating nausea, and so on.
  • Nervous system: When stress persists over time, it can have a lasting impact on the body. The autonomic nervous system keeps causing physical responses, which can lead to wear and tear. The issue is not just the effect of stress on the nervous system, but also how it affects other bodily systems.
  • The reproductive system is affected because, in males, high cortisol levels has a strong effect on testosterone production which in turn causes low libido and low sperm count; in females, high cortisol is associated with menstrual irregularities, low libido, and issues with the ability to conceive.

Stress impact on the psychological

  • Fatigue,
  • Exertion,
  • Sadness and other uncontrollable emotions,
  • Anxiety,
  • Memory issues,
  • Depression,
  • Irritability and restlessness,
  • Worsening of mental illness.


Although it is impossible to completely avoid stress, various management techniques have been proven to help avoid the worsening of symptoms.

  • Regular physical activity and a healthy diet.
  • Getting enough sleep.
  • Having support from friends/family.

These strategies offer significant advantages for both physical and mental health and are essential elements of a healthy lifestyle. If you require extra assistance or are dealing with severe or prolonged stress, a licensed psychologist can assist you in recognizing the difficulties and stressors that impact your daily routine and assist you in finding ways to manage them.

  1. The impact of stress on body function
  2. STRESS AND HEALTH: Psychological, Behavioral, and Biological Determinants
  3. Stress Management
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