We all have some level of stress right now, wouldn't you agree? Between COVID-19, Black Lives Matter protests, and the subsequent negative reactions in some quarters, and the increasingly negative and polarizing political commentary we can't seem to get away from, is it any wonder?
And we won't even touch the more personal aspects, such as feelings of isolation, loneliness, and the additional stress of working from home, being unemployed, caring for sick family members, children underfoot. I think you get it - I don't need to give you a laundry list. We are all experiencing record levels of unrelenting, chronic stress.
Did you know there are two types of stress? There is temporary (aka acute), or long-term (aka chronic).
Acute stress usually won’t mess with your health too much. It is your body’s natural reaction to circumstances, and can even be life-saving. It goes into mode when we have to deal with an immediate threat. Then, when the “threat” (stressor) is gone, the reaction subsides, and all is well. Your body goes back into homeostasis.
And there's long-term (chronic) stress. If these stress reactions are triggered every day or many times a day that unabated can mess with your health; which is what we are all experiencing these days.
Many of you know I don't watch TV news...I consider it very stressful, so I listen to the radio and only in small doses to know what is going on in the outside world. The repetitive, visual onslaught is something I can do without. And you may want to try this too - and note how you feel.
Stress (and stress hormones) can have a huge impact on your health. And the best way to deal with them is to a) recognize them and b) find better ways to manage them other than overeating or other negative lifestyle choices.
Let's dive into the "stress mess." This is what happens to your body on a "stress diet".
Mess #1 - Increased risk of heart disease and diabetes
Why save the best for last? Anything that increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes (both serious, chronic conditions) needs to be discussed. Stress increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes by promoting chronic inflammation, affecting your blood "thickness," as well as how well your cells respond to