Stress affects us in so many ways physically. Mental and emotional stress can be invisible to us as stress itself but it’s clearly visible in the body as physical health symptoms. This is the most common way stress presents itself. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. estimates that stress accounts for about 75% of all doctors visits. If this is the case, it’s unreal why it’s not at the top of the list when doctors ask patients what’s going on.
I see so many people in chronic pain or with chronic illness where stress plays a huge role in the onset or the persistence of symptoms that should have healed long ago. If we are supposed to treat the cause of a health problem, why aren’t we staring at stress and not the physical symptoms? Unfortunately, we have it the other way around in a lot of medicine. That’s why we have such a huge epidemic of chronic pain that is just being managed (pain management) and not really treated.
Everyone has stress in life, that’s certainly a given. It’s not the stress per say but how we deal with it that matters the most to the body. We think of stress as causing physical symptoms only when it’s a big event like losing a loved one or a job. This is not true. We have evidence to show that even small daily stress factors can lead to health problems later in life. The author of this study linked below states: “Our research shows that negative emotions that linger after even minor, daily stressors have important implications for our long-term physical health.”
Here is a nice infographic from The American Institute of Stress showing how stress affects us through all the body’s systems.