15 Surprising Ways Stress Affects Your Mind, Body and Health


Stress isn’t fun – unless it’s the kind that makes you so productive that you end the day with a perfectly clean house and list that went from to-do to done and now it’s time for a glass of wine. It goes to show that not all stress is bad, but that bad stuff is bad. Even the kind of stress you have on a daily basis, such as irritation with traffic or that annoying coworker who takes so many personal calls and speaks so loudly you know what her gynecologist found at her annual checkup last month can be surprisingly harmful to your health, which is why you have to find a way to get rid of stress fast. Read on to learn about the 15 surprising ways stress affects your health.



Stress can have a major affect on your health because it affects your cravings. For example, when you’re feeling overwhelmed about the project at work or a dinner party you are throwing, you might reach for the wine or a pint of your favorite ice cream to ease your stress. While you’ll feel momentarily better, your health is not being helped.



Being too stressed causes your body to store fat. When you’re stressed, you might feel like your clothes are tighter than usual, and that’s because your body is holding onto fat from all the junk you’re eating. Your body obviously wants to give you something else to stress over.


Heart Attacks

People who have a stressful job are as much as 23 percent more likely to have a heart attack than those people whose jobs aren’t as stressful. The next time your boss adds a great deal of stress to your plate at work, feel free to tell him he’s killing you – literally.



You know that a lack of sleep can cause your brain to have problems functioning, your metabolism to slow down and your mood to plummet. Stress causes insomnia. It’s just a lose-lose situation all around.



Now you have living proof that your mother-in-law gives you a migraine. Stress causes migraines so every time she criticizes your cooking, cleaning or parenting skills, he’s causing your headaches. Go ahead and mention that to your husband.


Memory Function

Stress emits a chemical called cortisol and cortisol makes it difficult for your mind to make new memories. That’s why you can’t remember what you had for breakfast this morning but you can recall every single detail of your first kiss. Even if you don’t want to.


Hair Today, Not Hair Tomorrow

Stress can make you lose your hair prematurely. Seriously, I think that this is about the only information women need to know to start eliminating stress in their lives.


Premature Labor

This one doesn’t apply to everyone, since you’re not all pregnant. However, if you are pregnant, you might be more likely to go into premature labor if you are stressed. Get that under control, because it’s not just your health we’re talking about anymore.


Blood Sugar

For diabetics, this is a huge problem. For everyone else, this is a significant problem. Stress causes your blood sugar level to rise, which can cause a myriad of other health problems.


Heartburn and Diarrhea

Who wants to deal with heartburn and diarrhea? No one; unfortunately, stress can cause both or worsen existing conditions. It’s a…crappy side effect of being too stressed.

Portrait of teenage girl popping pimple

Skin Problems

No one loves a break out and while you might attribute your suddenly imperfect skin on your period or something you ate, chances are it’s less than perfect because you are too stressed. Great, now you’re stressed, fat, unhealthy and ugly – or so you feel you are.


Back Pain

It’s not just premenstrual cramps, ladies. Back pain is an uncomfortable side effect of being too stressed. While stressed, your muscles are tense and you are more likely to feel back pain, particularly in the lower regions. Back pain shouldn’t be ignored. Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to discuss various back pain management options.


Early Signs of Aging

As if though not feeling thin, having a break out and storing extra fat aren’t bad enough, when you’re too stressed you are going to start showing signs of premature aging. Think grey hair, wrinkles and dry skin. Fortunately, three good workouts every week can counteract the premature aging process.



The more stress you experience, the more colds and flu symptoms you will experience. That’s no fun. No one enjoys being sick, so this is a very negative side effect.


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