How Does Stress Affect Your Health?
Many people report that they feel stress to some degree, but do not believe the effects of stress on the body are negative. Yet according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, two-thirds of all office visits to family physicians are due to stress-related symptoms, and according to an American Psychological Association national poll more than one-third of Americans HAVE an illness that was primarily caused by stress.
Recent evidence also indicates that the physical changes associated with stress and the effect of stress on blood pressure may contribute to the leading causes of death - heart disease and cancer.
How does stress affect your health? The effects of stress on the body include:
- Stress can cause chronic fatigue, digestive upsets, headaches, and back pain.
- Stress can affect the blood cells that help you fight off infection, so you are more likely to get colds and other diseases.
- The effect of stress on blood pressure can increase the risk for stroke and heart attacks.
- Stress triggers behaviors that contribute to death and disability, such as smoking, alcoholism, drug abuse, and overeating.
- Stress makes it harder to take other steps to improve health, such as giving up smoking or making changes in diet.
These are not isolated cases; if you often feel "stressed out" or anxious, it may be affecting your mental or physical health. The more stressed out we get, the shallower and faster and tighter and higher our breathing becomes. Your ability to consciously change the way you breathe can help reduce your stress, and in turn reduce the effects of stress on the body.
The StressEraser helps you to literally see how your breathing rate affects your pulse rate. As you slow down your breathing and find your optimal breathing rate, you will actually see the pattern of your pulse rate go from jagged waves to long, smooth waves. By prompting you to synchronize your breathing with your nervous system and activate your relaxation response the StressEraser helps you learn to relax your mind and body.
Once you can see what it looks like to breathe in a relaxing way, after a while breathing in this way and feeling relaxed will become second nature. Even when you don’t have your StressEraser handy, you will become better at recognizing your body’s reaction to stress - and become able to stop it and even reverse it.