Your body reacts to high levels of demands and worries by giving you stress. This, as
you know, can affect you mentally or physically, or both. Most people with a lot of stress
get used to it, but that doesn’t make it normal. You can live your life without all this
added stress, as many of the sources of stress and overwhelm are entirely
Before you look at ways to reduce stress, it is a good idea to understand WHY you need
to reduce it. Here are some of the different ways stress can affect your mentally and
1- Increases Your Depression
One of the links between stress and your mental health is that it increases the feelings
of depression. Stress doesn’t cause depression if you don’t already suffer from it, but it
can make it worse over time. One reason for this is because the stress hormones may
create a type of sedative effect. This can lead to common depression side effects like
fatigue, lethargy, lack of motivation, poor productivity, sleeping more, and having no
interest in activities you used to enjoy.
Stress in itself can be a big trigger if you suffer from clinical depression. When you
experience that rise in stress hormones, it can lead to your depressive episodes, which
then cause more stress, and turn into more depression or anxiety. The only way out of
this cycle is to treat both the depression and the stress, and understand where each
one is coming from.
2- Makes Your Anxiety Worse
If you have an anxiety disorder like generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, or panic
disorder, you are already susceptible to anxiety itself. The problem is that many things
can easily trigger your anxiety and panic episodes, including high amounts of stress.
Just like with depression, increased stress hormones are a very common trigger for
anxiety. You might even find that you are having trouble distinguishing between your
stress and anxiety, because they continue occurring at the same time. Each one can
make each of them worse, just like with depression.
In this case, reducing your stress should help you to reduce your anxiety at the same
time. If you think you are struggling with both, try working on stress relief methods first
and see if it helps with your anxiety.
3- It Can Cause Personality and Behavioral Changes
In addition to making your mental health disorders worse, there are also other mental
and emotional health changes that can occur when you deal with high amounts of
stress. You might notice that when you have a lot of stress, you don’t deal with
unexpected changes very well. This is your mind’s reaction to the increased stress
hormones you are already experiencing. You can become agitated and irritable much
more easily, with far less patience than you usually have.
Some other personality and behavioral changes that are common with people with
- Being more suspicious
- Lack of motivation
In turn, this can cause you to be more isolated, lose interest in activities, and have
issues focusing and concentrating on work.
4- There are Physical Effects of Stress
As you probably know if you have ever dealt with stress, there are also many physical
signs and side effects. It might start with chronic physical pain like headaches, muscle
tension, neck or back pain, and chest pain. It can then morph into other physical
symptoms, like fatigue, trouble sleeping, digestive issues and stomach cramping,
fatigue, decrease in your sex drive, skin changes, and hair loss.
The problem with physical signs of stress is that they are often similar to symptoms you
experience from many other physical or emotional conditions. This can sometimes
make it difficult for your doctor to diagnose the problem. Typically what happens is that
if you are suffering from one of these symptoms, your doctor will first rule out other
causes, then if nothing is found, assume that it is from stress.
Either way, stress is not something you should ignore or push to the side. It affects you
in so many ways, that it should be considered just as serious as any other medical
condition you might have.
See you soon,