If you are feeling tired, irritable, and mentally fried all the time, you might be wondering if there is a health issue behind it. Low energy and fatigue are among some of the most common complaints patients bring to their doctors, and it turns out that chronic stress can be the culprit. Let’s get to the bottom of what chronic stress is, how it could be affecting you, and what you can do about it.
What is Chronic Stress?
Stress is the body’s natural defense mechanism and serves an essential purpose. It is stress, for example, that keeps us alert and allows us to respond to danger quickly. It’s entirely natural for stress to rise and fall throughout the day. But when stress becomes ever-present, and you find yourself in a constant fight or flight mode, it could cause some physical and mental problems.
When you are in fight or flight mode, all non-essential body functions are slowed down to allow a better response to danger. Your heart rate, blood pressure, and energy levels get elevated. This is great if you are trying to jump out of the way from a moving car, but it is less than desirable when working on long and stressful work projects.
Stressful situations cause the body’s adrenal glands to produce certain hormones. And the overproduction of one specific hormone, cortisol, could be causing your constant fatigue.
What is Cortisol?
Adrenal glands are small, triangular-shaped glands located on top of both kidneys. They are responsible for producing various hormones that regulate your metabolism, blood pressure, ammine system, and other crucial functions.
An important hormone produced by the adrenal glands is cortisol, also often called “the stress hormone.” Cortisol can help control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, reduce inflammation, and aid memory formulation.
However, when cortisol production is constantly high due to chronic stress, problems could arise. Here are a few health issues that could be triggered by elevated cortisol.
- Difficulty concentrating
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Severe fatigue
- Anxiety and depression
Chronic stress can cause long-lasting damage, but fortunately, there are some tools you can use to reduce stress and improve your mental state.
How Can You Reduce Stress?
Reducing your stress levels will not only make you feel better in the moment but also improve your energy levels, mental clarity, and physical fitness. Here are a few strategies to get you started.
Exercise lowers your body’s stress hormones, improves sleep quality, and helps release endorphins. putting your body through physical stress can actually help you feel less mentally stressed.
Reduce Caffeine Intake
Before you reach for that second cup of coffee, remember that caffeine is a stimulant, and high doses can increase anxiety. If you are already feeling stressed, coffee could make you even more jittery or anxious.
Several supplements could help reduce stress and anxiety. Omega-3 fatty acids helped reduce anxiety by 20% according to one study. Valerian root could promote better sleep and lower anxiety. And green tea can provide energy and increase serotonin production, which can in turn help to manage stress.
Mindful meditations can help you learn to manage stress in a better way. Meditation encourages participants to sit with difficult feelings without analyzing or suppressing them. More and more studies are being done on the connection between meditation and stress levels, and so far, the findings are positive and encouraging.
If you think you’re experiencing Chronic fatigue, Medical West can help.
Medical West is Here for You
It could be challenging navigating health issues on your own. Luckily you don’t have to. Medical West is available to discuss your symptoms and concerns and schedule necessary tests and assessments to get you on the road to feeling stronger and better. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to get your energy levels under control.