How Stress Hormones Affect Our Body and Mind

We live in quite a stressful environment, with numerous challenges, competitions, struggles being our daily routine. Such living is highly likely to expose us to various negative effects of stress, both physiological and cognitive. This happens because of stress hormones’ influence on our systems. What are these effects and how can a modern person eliminate the effect of stress on their well-being?

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We live in quite a stressful environment, with numerous challenges, competitions, struggles being our daily routine. Such living is highly likely to expose us to various negative effects of stress, both physiological and cognitive. This happens because of stress hormones’ influence on our systems. What are these effects and how can a modern person eliminate the effect of stress on their well-being?

Among the most known to many people stress hormones are cortisol, norepinephrine, vasopressin etc. As parts of hormone groups responsible for stress response, they perform a number of functions that create our stress response mechanisms. And while in itself stress hormones are not totally harmful and have done a lot of good to ensure humanity’s survival, nowadays constant being under their effect is of little, if any, actual use.

Their primary function is to turn our attention to certain factors that disturb the balance between ourselves and the environment we’re in, but as we might have little impact on such intensive stressors as work/peer pressure, frequent examinations of various kinds, psychosocial stress etc., high levels of stress hormones start damaging our health.

High stress levels harm both our physical and mental health. Among its negative consequences for our body are such conditions as

  • Headaches;
  • Elevated blood pressure;
  • Sleep issues;
  • Stomachache;
  • Diabetes;

Increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, including arrhythmias and even heart attacks;

  • Asthma;
  • Skin conditions
  • Psychosomatics etc.

Moreover, chronic stress is often followed by turning to drinking, smoking or using drugs, thus only aggravating overall negative impact on one’s physical health because of developing comorbidities.

As for our mental health, stress can lead to:

  • Anxiety;
  • Depression;
  • Restlessness;
  • Loss of motivation;
  • Difficulties trying to concentrate;
  • Increased irritability, sudden anger;
  • Fatigue etc.

So is there any way to decrease probability of these consequences? Fortunately, there is. What can positively affect our stress levels and bring our functionality back to normal is

Laughter. Yes, as stress is regulated by our neuroendocrine system, we can modify our hormonal responces with opting for positive emotional activities, such as laughter. Laughing can reduce levels of such hormones as cortisol, dopac, epinephrine and growth gormone. Moreover, even anticipating a laugh can make an impact on our stress hormones level;

Meditation. A study of Thai scientists has shown that meditation is indeed a way to calm yourself down. Being a method that allows our mind and body to relax, it leads to decrease of cortisol levels in one’s system. In the long-term perspective it may be a good preventive measure for stress-related diseases such as psychiatric disorders, peptic ulcer and migraine;

Live music. Researchers Daisy Fancourt and Aaron Williamon have concluded that ‘attending a live performance leads to lower secretion of glucocorticoids and a reduced cortisol/cortisone ratio, indicating lowered biological stress’. Twenty two other studies conducted in a controlled environment have also confirmed this statement. So, one might want to go to a concert when it feels like all the world’s pressure is on them.

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