Stress. Ever heard of it?
While some might assume that stress is a “given” these days in our always-have-our-phones, work-60-hours-a-week, go-go-go culture … it’s actually one of the biggest dangers out there right now. Why? Well for one, our bodies weren’t built to handle the high amounts of stress most of us carry each day. And two, stress can impact us in many adverse ways (some known & some unknown) to the point we aren’t even ourselves anymore.
Known impacts of stress
For some of us (many who struggle with stress), we know it can have adverse effects on our bodies and our lives. It does quite a number on workplace wellness, too. Some of the common results of a high-stress lifestyle?
1. Overeating. “Stress eating” makes us choose foods that we know we should avoid. Sleeping through the alarm, taking a phone call from an upset client or missing the deadline are all occasions where our stress levels rise. And as that rises, we get the urge to suppress it. With sugar. Lots of it.
2. Hair falling out & turning gray. Another common indication of high stress is hair loss. Anyone doubt that the President of the United States is an easy job? Just compare photos of presidents on inauguration day with photos of them 2-3 years later. Many of them look older and much grayer than they did upon election. Some have less hair.
3. Tooth problems. Stress can create havoc for your teeth. You’ll find you grit and grind your teeth more, sometimes without even knowing it. You’ll clench your jaw, which can lead to jaw problems down the line. And when it comes to work – nobody wants dental problems. Especially since 73% of Americans are more likely to trust someone with a nice smile.
4. Lack of energy. Stress is the opposite of the Energizer Bunny. It zaps you. Even if you don’t have a “good” reason to be tired, if you’re stressed out, you’ll lack energy and feel exhausted. It’s definitely detrimental to the workplace.
5. Fuzzy minds. High-stress leads to forgetfulness. And depression. Memory loss. Anxiety. Shall we go on? And in the context of a workplace – this is cyclical. When you forget your meeting, you get stressed. And then you get depressed. And then your memory escapes you and your drop the ball again. And again. And again.
Read more about the impact of stress.
Surprising impacts of stress
So most of us know that stress can make us eat, lose our hair, look tired and more. But did you know stress can also have these surprising effects:
1. You might lose “you.” Yep, a new study showed that men who were stressed out were more attracted to “heftier” gals out there. Stress altered a man’s perception of his “ideal” woman body type. And all the gals out there said, “Bring on the brownies.” However be careful with this… it begs the question: “Is the reverse true?” If a man does find ways to lower his stress level, will his attractions change? And is it just related to physical attraction, or can it flood into other areas of life too? Does stress really change the real “you?”
2. You might get addicted. Another study shows a strong correlation between substance abuse and stress. Stress is like a drug for … well, using drugs. Or alcohol. Or any other substance of addiction (yes, including food.) So if you’re prone to addiction of any kind, be wary that stress can be a big trigger and start you down many paths you’ve tried to stay away from.
3. You could get cancer. Okay – we’re not trying to be extremists here – however, it’s important to realize the long-term impact chronic stress can have on your body. Stress can dramatically hurt your immune system. That system is critical when it comes to keeping you free from diseases like diabetes, heart disease and yes, even cancer. It’s not worth it. We recommend having regular wellness panels done to monitor your health and know how your body is performing. And while you’re at it, take some time to chill out and find ways to lower the stress in your life. Your family, employer and more importantly, your body, will thank you.