It shouldn’t be news by now that stress — especially chronic, prolonged stress — can have negative effects on your health and wellbeing. We’ve discussed what stress actually does to your body and what you can do about it, but just to drive the point home, new research shows that chronic, constant stress from things like a busy job and tense home can lead to more than just the occasional headache.
Photo by David Stuart, Photographer (Shutterstock).
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University recently published a study that indicated that people who live in constantly stressful situations, where they don’t get much opportunity to escape, relax and recharge, are also more likely to have more severe reactions to illnesses — even the common cold. Part of the reason is that people who live more stressful lives show an increased resistance to cortisol, a stress hormone that also keeps your body’s inflammatory response to infection in check. The end result is that people who were more stressed and had a higher cortisol resistance also had a rougher time dealing with even mild infections.
In the end, while there’s already an established link between chronic stress and long-term illnesses like heart disease, gastrointestinal distress and other illnesses, newer research shows that chronic stress also makes you more prone to illness, makes those illnesses worse to bear, and you’ll feel sicker when you do fall ill. The moral of the story? Manage your stress, find ways to alleviate it, and take your holidays and breaks. How do you manage your stress? Let us know in the comments below.
Really? Chronic Stress Makes You Sick [New York Times]