It is scientifically proven that psychological stress affects your health tremendously. This happens because stress causes inflammation, which is the hallmark of most diseases, from diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer. In recent studies done by doctors, nutritionists and herbalists, the results have determined that stress is actual one of the leading causes of cancer.
Chronic Stress promotes cancer spread
Studies done on mice have established that animals who were chronically stressed had modified lymphatic systems that allowed cancer to spread easily and quickly. And even if the studies have not yet extended to humans, the recent reports highlighted a huge step in how stress actually helps tumour cells escape. Some doctors have started to treat patients with cancer, by also treating them against stress.
How does stress do it?
Cancer cells usually spread throughout your body via your blood vessels or your lymphatic system. The hormones that are associated with stress affect both these channels. The researchers that analyse the spread of cancer on mice are trying to determine how stress hormones affect the cancer spread through the lymphatic system. They have found so far that the problems come from the way adrenaline activates the SNS – Sympathetic nervous system. In addition, adrenaline causes physical lymph vessels changes, which allow the cancer cells to migrate to other parts of the body at a faster rate. The neuroendocrine response directly alters the function of the cells that help protect against the development and formation of cancer (like DNA repair and regulation of the cell growth). Other studies have shown that norepinephrine, a stress hormone, can increase the growth rate of cancer.
Work in stressful conditions puts you at risk of heart disease
Physiological stress has its toll on your heart. The heart has its own level of “mind”, it contains some neurones and is closely connected with your brain. For most people the primary factor of stress is their job. Recent research shows that there is a dependent relationship between the hours you work under pressure and the risk of developing heart problems.
“Compared to working 45 hours a week, working 55 hours increased the risk by 16 percent, 60 hours by 35 percent, 65 hours by 52 percent, and 70 hours by 74 percent.” – The New York Times
Stress is destroying your adrenal function
Your adrenal is also affected by chronic stress, resulting in adrenal fatigue. The hormones that are produced by the adrenal glands control a part of the bodily fluids and the “fight or flight” response to stress. Once the adrenal fatigue sets in, your resistance to stress can falter or even give out entirely. This will make you hypersensitive even to a minor stress factor that normally wouldn’t affect you.
Refraining tricks and tips
What to do to refrain your responses to stressful events or experiences? Here are five strategies that can help you in those situations:
Question your thoughts. Thoughts can uncover more than it should sometimes. But the good part is you can choose whether to believe or not every thought that crosses your mind.
Turn the perceived threat into a challenge. You can find hidden opportunities in stressful situations. By looking for them, you can help yourself improve in the fight against stress.
Expand the time horizon. In a stressful situation ask yourself how much you will remember it a year or five years from now. Even better, will you even remember something about this?
Increase your sense of control. Being in control of everything is impossible. But if you think you are in control, the perceived sense of control will help you get past those stressful situations. You can do this by focusing on what you influence, coming up with creative solutions and making a list of people or resources that can help you in times of trouble.
By keeping stress away, you keep the disease away. Even if you work in a place where you earn a lot of money but with a lot of stress, it will mean nothing. You will most likely pay the money you have made to stay alive. Think about it. Is it worth it?