Your Body and Stress

Let’s face it, we can’t avoid stress no matter what we do in life. It’s just part of overcoming obstacles and achieving our goals.

But, when stress becomes unmanageable, it can compromise our health.

The Brain

  • Under stress, the hypothalamus signals the ANS and the pituitary gland to release cortisol and epinephrines – the stress hormones.
  • Excessive cortisol can interfere with our learning and our memory skills.
  • Elevated levels of cortisol may increase the risk of mental illness.

Cardiovascular System

  • Stress increases our risk of a heart attack, hypertension and stroke.
  • A study in Denmark has shown that pressure from work put people at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • A study in Beijing has shown that, in women only, job strain increased the thickness of the carotid artery – which is one of the early signs of heart disease.


  • Stress can cause increased muscle tension.
  • Chronic musculo-skeletal pain.
  • Tension headaches.
  • Stress can even cause muscle tension that is so severe, it would be enough to lead to atrophy. Atrophy is the degeneration of our cells.

Reproduction in Women

  • High levels of stress can cause missed periods, cramping and longer periods.
  • Stress can also contribute to the delay of ovulation which affects fertility.
  • Stress and the consequent fatigue can reduce sexual desire.


Management of Stress

It’s not always easy to manage our stress. The feeling can be overwhelming sometimes and it can feel like nothing can help you but, these Stress Management Techniques are tried and tested ways of helping us manage our stress levels so we can stay healthy.

  • Breathing and Relaxation
  • Mindfulness
  • Regular Exercise
  • Mutually beneficial relationships
  • Counselling

There are many options out there if you feel like you aren’t handling things as well as you can. You can always talk to your GP or you can call the Samaritans, if you feel like your situation is beyond medical help.

We’ve included some useful links below. There’s always someone to help.


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