Skip to content

Harmful Negative Effects Of Stress And Trauma

When it comes to BiOptimization, there is no way around managing the effects of stress and trauma on your physiology. However, life is not about eliminating stress, but rather learning how to thrive and succeed despite it. You want to understand how stress and trauma can affect your physiology and learn evidence-based methods for maintaining

Fact checked by Nattha Wannissorn
GettyImages-1164339481-1

In this article, you will learn:

  • What stress is and how it affects your body
  • A hidden source of stress that could age you and destroy your happiness
  • The stress hormone connection: why excess stress shows up around your waistline
  • Ways to mitigate the negative effects of performance
  • How to thrive despite your stressors and traumas
  • And much more…

What Is Stress?

Stress happens when you experience physical or emotional tension. Stress can occur from any thought or event that causes any feelings of frustration, nervousness, or anger. Stress in the right amount can save lives, but too much stress kills.

Young man looking stressed out at home

Your body’s stress response is perfectly normal and critical for your survival. If someone is chasing you with a knife, your body’s reaction can be the difference between life or death.

The hormones released by the body at the time of stress prepare the body to run away or fight as:

  • The body draws more oxygen
  • Muscles tighten
  • The heart beats faster
  • Breathing accelerates

The body also suppresses the immune, excretory, and reproductive systems to prepare for action. If these critical body functions are compromised long-term, there will be dire health consequences.

The Stress Spectrum

A stress response is not a 0 or a 10. The body responds in accordance to the perceived threat. The stress response between a bear chasing you in the woods and having a looming deadline at work is not the same. The problem is the majority of people are constantly in a 2-8 range. There is a constant low-to-mid level of stress hormones floating in the body. 

the stress spectrum chart

Modern-Day Stress (The Reason Behind An Ongoing Stress Response)

Almost no one in today’s world is regularly being chased by sharks, knives, and tigers. So why does the body have these stress responses?

It’s because your brain doesn’t differentiate between a physical threat and an emotional threat. The biological trauma response is the same.

When someone loses their job, their mind can start racing and projecting the worst-case scenario. Financial insecurity and fear take hold. Questions like, “What if I can’t pay my rent? What if I can’t buy food for my family?” start running through the mind.

When someone leaves a relationship, it’s common for the other person to feel insecure: “What if I’m not good enough? What if I can’t attract someone else? What if I’m alone the rest of my life?” 

The core root of these modern stress responses is unprocessed trauma.

When we experience a painful event, unless we “process it” and heal from it, it will get stored in the limbic system as a way to protect us in the future. The limbic system is located in the brain and is responsible for our emotional and behavioral responses. This is how PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) can happen. 

Posttraumatic stress disorder - Mental disorder diagnosis and treatment

How Does Trauma Happen? 

Trauma usually occurs when 4 conditions are present:

  1. There’s a painful experience
  2. The painful experience was unexpected
  3. The person is unresourced to process it
  4. The person feels alone

When trauma happens, people usually resort to emotional repression and suppression to cope with it. This buries the trauma in the emotional brain and limbic system. 

Then, the amygdala (the security guard of the brain) scans for threats. Any time it sees anything that is remotely similar to those old traumas, it will react. The nervous system goes straight to fight, flight, or freeze.

We all know people who have been bitten by a dog and are scared of dogs their entire life. They’re 40, 50, or 60 years old and they still get scared of a chihuahua, even if it’s friendly. 

And it’s very true even on micro-levels. If your father told you your grades aren’t good enough even though you hit 96/100 and says, “Where are the other four points?” That can be a traumatic experience for you as a kid. Decades later, when someone implies that you might NOT be good enough, it can retrigger the same trauma response you had as a kid.

According to experts in the field, an average person has between 300 and 500 emotional traumas stored in the body or nervous system. It’s no surprise that people are in a state of constant stress and reactivity.

Powermove: EFT And Other Emotional Healing Modalities

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a tapping technique based on the 5,000-year-old healing tradition of acupressure. It helps to relieve psychological and physical distress. 

By tapping on energy points in your body, you’re able to release blockages so that feelings of stress can be released from the body. 

Emotional freedom techniques can significantly help with anxiety, depression, PTSD, pain, and cravings, and increasing happiness. EFT can also help in lowering cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone.  

How Does Stress Affect The Body?

young businesswoman suffering from backache while working at night

Here are some of the consequences of chronic and constant stress:

Stress And Blood Sugar 

During times of stress, your liver produces more blood sugar to give you a boost of energy. If your blood sugar levels are chronically elevated, it may increase your risk of insulin resistance. It can make it very difficult to lose weight in this condition. 

Powermove: Blood Sugar Breakthrough

Blood Sugar Breakthrough supports healthy blood sugar control, making it helpful in situations where you’re under a lot of stress or not eating your optimal diet. 

Stress And The Digestive System

To deal with stress, the blood in your body shifts to the muscles to help you mobilize. This can lead to digestive problems. Though stress doesn’t cause ulcers (a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori often does), it can increase your risk of getting them. Stress can also cause existing ulcers to act up.

Stress also reduces all kinds of digestive secretions, including digestive enzymes and stomach acid. So, if you’re stressed or dealing with stress-related issues, consider supplementing with HCL Breakthrough and MassZymes.

Stress can also affect the way food moves through your intestinal tract, leading to diarrhea or constipation. 

Powermove: Mindful Eating

Mindful eating can reduce stress and optimize digestion.

Mindful eating is maintaining an in-the-moment awareness of the food and drink you’re consuming. Focus on how the food makes you feel and the signals your body sends about taste, satisfaction, and fullness.

Stress And The Cardiovascular System

Stress hormones can affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. At the time of stress, your heart pumps faster and stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict. The latter can lead to higher blood pressure, which increases your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

Powermove: Get Regular Bodywork

Exercise is essential for better overall health and is also effective in stress management. It’s important to pick an activity you enjoy so you can stick with it. 

Effects Of Stress On The Brain

Stress can kill brain cells and even reduce the size of the brain. Cortisol has a shrinking effect on the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for memory and learning.

Chronic stress can shrink your hippocampus and wipe out your short-term memory. The hippocampus is the part of your brain that plays a major role in memory and learning. 

These changes can lead to decreased spatial and verbal memory abilities. These negative changes in the amygdala and hippocampus can result in decreased decision-making and processing abilities and difficulty learning.

Effects Of Stress On Body Fat

Multiple studies confirm a direct correlation between stress and weight gain.[R9] When you’re stressed, your adrenal glands secrete cortisol hormone, leading to higher levels in the body. The cortisol release affects fat distribution by causing fat to be stored centrally around the organs, such as:

  • Intestines
  • Liver
  • Kidneys 

This leads to excess abdominal fat and bigger bellies.

Doctor uses a tape measure to measure the waist of fat man

Furthermore, cortisol can slow down your metabolism, making it difficult to lose weight. Researchers have found that women who reported one or more stressors in the past 24 hours burned 104 fewer calories than non-stressed women.

Powermove: Meditation

Mindful meditation is an effective treatment for a variety of psychological problems and is especially effective for reducing.:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • And stress

How To Manage Stress

The goal of stress management is to:

  • Spend most of your time at low levels of stress 
  • And increase it when needed for special occasions

Getting amped up for an epic workout is great. Staying stressed every waking hour will destroy your life, both short-term and long-term.

stress levels chart

The goal isn’t to live a stress-free life. The goal is to pay attention to your mind and body and give it what it needs. Your body needs positive stressors (hormetic stress) in order to be as strong and healthy as possible. Your mind needs challenges in order for it to stay sharp. 

However, we are not cyborgs. The human mind and body have limits and when we approach those limits, it’s wise to pull the stress back and focus on recovery and rejuvenation.

As you can see in the diagram above, you want to cycle through hypostress (low levels of stress) to hyper stress (high manageable levels of stress).  When your mind and body hit an acute stress overload BACK OFF… And when your stress becomes too low that you start to feel laziness creeping in, ramp up your physical and mental challenges. 

Supplements To Promote A Healthy Stress Response 

Stress can cause the body to excrete more magnesium, yet magnesium is so important for the brain to balance its stress response. 

Magnesium Breakthrough is an effective supplement to promote a healthy stress response as it contains all seven types of magnesium. Some of the benefits of Magnesium Breakthrough include:

  • Boosts the health of the nervous system and improves mental health
  • Promotes a healthy stress response
  • Promotes heart health
  • Improves cognitive function
  • Promotes healthy metabolism 
  • Promotes good sleep 
  • Promotes a healthy immune system

Cognibiotics combines the power of Chinese medicine with psychobiotics to help normalize the stress response system and promote cognitive performance amidst stress. The adaptogenic herbs in it promote a balanced stress response and mitigate negative health effects of stress. It also supports mood and mental health. 

Conclusion

An acute short-term stress response is ok. The health problems begin when the levels of stress become chronic and constant.  

Share this article using the buttons below
References
  1. United Brain Association. Stress, the silent killer. United Brain Association. Published May 1, 2019. Accessed July 16, 2022. https://americanbrainsociety.org/stress-the-silent-killer/
  2. Bach D, Groesbeck G, Stapleton P, Sims R, Blickheuser K, Church D. Clinical EFT (emotional freedom techniques) improves multiple physiological markers of health. J Evid Based Integr Med. 2019;24:2515690X18823691. doi:10.1177/2515690X18823691
  3. Pietrangelo A. The effects of stress on your body. Healthline. Published June 5, 2017. Accessed July 16, 2022. https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body
  4. Edenfield, T. M., & Blumenthal, J. A. Exercise and stress reduction. In: Contrada, R. J., & Baum, A., ed. The Handbook of Stress Science: Biology, Psychology, and Health. Springer Publishing Company; 2011:301-319.
  5. Bernstein R. The mind and mental health: How stress affects the brain. Touro University WorldWide. Published July 26, 2016. Accessed July 16, 2022. https://www.tuw.edu/health/how-stress-affects-the-brain
  6. Smith S. How EFT intervenes in chronic stress. EFT Universe. Published October 4, 2021. Accessed July 16, 2022. https://www.eftuniverse.com/anxiety-stress/how-eft-intervenes-in-chronic-stress
  7. Jackson SE, Kirschbaum C, Steptoe A. Hair cortisol and adiposity in a population-based sample of 2,527 men and women aged 54 to 87 years: Hair Cortisol and Adiposity in a Population Sample. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2017;25(3):539-544. doi:10.1002/oby.21733
  8. Goldstein DS. Adrenal responses to stress. Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2010;30(8):1433-1440. doi:10.1007/s10571-010-9606-9
  9. Epel ES, McEwen B, Seeman T, et al. Stress and body shape: stress-induced cortisol secretion is consistently greater among women with central fat. Psychosom Med. 2000;62(5):623-632. doi:10.1097/00006842-200009000-00005
  10. Rosmond R, Björntorp P. Occupational status, cortisol secretory pattern, and visceral obesity in middle-aged men. Obes Res. 2000;8(6):445-450. doi:10.1038/oby.2000.55
  11. Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Habash DL, Fagundes CP, et al. Daily stressors, past depression, and metabolic responses to high-fat meals: a novel path to obesity. Biol Psychiatry. 2015;77(7):653-660. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.05.018
  12. Khoury B, Lecomte T, Fortin G, et al. Mindfulness-based therapy: a comprehensive meta-analysis. Clin Psychol Rev. 2013;33(6):763-771. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2013.05.005
Posted in
You'll enjoy these posts

Leave a Comment