Everyone will get stressed from time to time; it’s a natural part of being alive! There will always be situations that induce a level of worry and concern, and in most cases that is a good thing. Having small amounts of stress and the hormones that it produces (such as cortisol) in our bodies means that we can be more alert, and ready for anything. It can push us to do better, to hit deadlines, to ensure that we are working at our best. In most cases, that stress won’t last for long, and once the ‘danger’ is passed, your body and mind will return to normal.
For some people, however, that is not the case. For these people, stress is a chronic condition, and it never goes away. This is when stress becomes a problem because suffering with it long term can affect both the body and the mind. Mental health can be affected, blood pressure is raised, the heart can have problems, and you will feel terrible in general. Using exercise such as CrossFit to reduce your stress is important: here is why.
You may have hoped you left acne and skin conditions behind in your teens, but when you are stressed you may find that you have breakouts, no matter how old you are. It is a visible sign that you are stressed, and can be a good cue for you to seek help and find ways (including CrossFit) to reduce your stress levels.
Acne most usually occurs when you are stressed because you will be touching your face more. This is a comforting action, and you may not even realize you are doing it, but although it may comfort your mind, it can also spread bacteria to your skin, and this is a contributing factor for acne.
It isn’t just the constant touching that causes problems either. Studies have shown that hormone level changes can have a physical impact on your body, including your skin. The more stressed you are, the more cortisol is in your body, and this reduces the amount of serotonin. Serotonin helps to regulate the condition of your skin and hair, so it should be no surprise that you develop acne when that regulation is lessened.
If you have noticed that there is a lot more hair in your brush each morning, or that it seems to be falling out whenever you touch it, or even if you spot a growing bald patch (in both men and women), then stress could well be the contributing factor. You can read more here about this and other reasons for hair loss.
Hair loss due to stress could be due to an increase in adrenalin, which is something that certainly happens when you are suffering from stress. That adrenalin will become cholesterol if it is not used (which it won’t be because you are making too much of it), and too much cholesterol will increase your body’s testosterone levels. This is what contributes to your hair falling out as it can impact how (and even if) your hair grows.
As well as this, stress can often mean that we don’t necessarily take care of ourselves in the way that we should. Skipping meals or eating a lot of processed foods can certainly have an impact on our overall health, and could indeed mean that we lose more hair as a result.
Another reason to exercise and de-stress as much as possible is that stress causes headaches, and these headaches can (depending on their severity) be completely debilitating, resulting in many days of lost work or school. A stress headache presents in the forehead and extends to the back of the head and can extend down to the neck and even shoulders, causing generalized pain.
If you’ve ever woken up in the morning and felt a twinge of pain or an ache that wasn’t there when you went to bed, what have you thought? Did you assume that you had slept in a strange position and your body was suffering because of it? It seems a likely reason, and in some cases, it will be the truth. However, in others, it could be down to stress. Stress results in chronic pain over time, and this can mean that your mobility is severely restricted if nothing is done.
Studies are still ongoing as to the exact relation between stress and pain, but it does seem that there is a link and that reducing your stress levels can reduce the amount of pain you are feeling assuming there are no underlying medical issues that are contributing such as injuries or general aging.
Constantly feeling as though you have a cold is another sign of being stressed. This is because chronic stress levels can have a negative impact on your immune system, lowering its defenses and allowing all kinds of bugs to attack your body which, if it had been functioning correctly, would never have been allowed to affect you. Although you may not feel like attending a CrossFit class when you’re suffering from a cold, exercise is a known stress reliever, and alleviating your stress levels can help you in so many different ways that it is worth trying to see how you feel afterward.
Lack of sleep is something that no human can stand for long. Not being able to sleep means decreased productivity and concentration levels the next day, which, if it goes on for a long time, can seriously affect your work and home life in a negative way. However, it is not just this practical side of things that is a problem when it comes to insomnia, which is another symptom of stress. Not getting enough sleep means that the body never gets a chance to fully heal itself, and that can result in other long-term ailments such as type II diabetes, heart disease, depression, high blood pressure, some forms of cancer, and obesity.