Stress can be a double edged sword. Where on the one hand moderate and controlled stress could actually improve alertness and performance, excess and prolonged stress would lead to all types of negative impacts on the mind and body. So why is stress really so bad for us and why should we control it?
1. Negative impact on immunity
Stress produces certain hormones in the body that have several negative impacts on the body. Among them is the effect on the body’s immune system. When the immune system is affected, the body is less able to withstand infections and will fall ill more frequently with more severe symptoms. So in effect stress leaves us vulnerable to illnesses.
2. Risk factor for heart disease and other diseases
We also know that stress is a risk factor for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Not only that, it is also a risk factor for other conditions such as asthma (which can be triggered by stress), arthritis, headaches and other aches and pains. Stress can also trigger certain skin conditions – eruptions or recurrence of several skin problems are stress related.
3. Risk factor for depression
Prolonged or unmanaged stress is also one of the causes of major depression and other mental illnesses. It may start out with feelings of being down or blue. It can then progress to feeling anxious or scared or worried all the time this can spiral out of control into full fledged depression.
4. Negative impact on interpersonal relationships
Your relationships with your family, friends and colleagues can suffer as a result of stress. When you’re under stress you tend to prioritize differently and you may lose sight of what is really important. You can start to obsess about non essential things and your personal relationships may well start to deteriorate.
5. Lowered productivity
Studies have shown that there is an optimum level of stress. Just enough means higher alertness, more focus and improved performance. However, too much stress could mean low energy levels, inability to concentrate and poor performance. Stress can even affect mental and physical coordination. If you’re under stress, you may be working long hours but ultimately achieving less.
6. Lowered quality of life
Overall quality of life is impacted – you are tired, not sleeping well, don’t seem to have the time for anything, people around you seem to be complaining. Not much of a life there – and yet another reason why stress is so bad for you.