Stress and Your Health

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Stress and Your Health
Effects of stress on your health

Research is starting to show the serious effects of both short and long-term stress on our bodies. Stress jacks up your body's production of cortisol and adrenaline, hormones that lower immune response so you're more likely to come down with a cold or the flu when faced with stressful situations like final exams or relationship problems. Stress-induced anxiety also can inhibit natural killer-cell activity. If practiced regularly, any of the well-known relaxation techniques—from aerobic exercise and progressive muscle relaxation to meditation, prayer and chanting—help block release of stress hormones and increase immune function.
Stress can also worsen existing health problems, possibly playing a part in: 
  • trouble sleeping
  • headaches
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • irritability
  • lack of energy
  • lack of concentration
  • eating too much or not at all
  • anger
  • sadness
  • higher risk of asthma and arthritis flare-ups
  • tension
  • stomach cramping
  • stomach bloating
  • skin problems, like hives
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • weight gain or loss
  • heart problems
  • high blood pressure
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • diabetes
  • neck and/or back pain
  • less sexual desire
  • difficulty getting pregnant
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