I Never Knew That: Five Major Ways that Stress Impacts You

You know that stress is bad for your mental health; it causes you to lose sleep, to eat more, to become anxious and depressed, but that’s it – right? Unfortunately, stress does a whole lot more damage to your wellness, and below are just five examples.

  1. Stress helps cancer to survive against anti-cancer drugs – According to a recent animal study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, an anti-cancer drug administered to mice was less effective at killing cancer cells when the animals were stressed. The Wake Forest University researchers found that the cancer cells were actually kept from dying because the mice produced adrenaline.
  2. Stress shrinks your brain – Even if your wellbeing is in otherwise tip-top shape, Yale University found that stressful occasions, such as a divorce or losing your job, reduces the grey matter in regions of your brain tied to emotion and physiological functions, which shrinks it. The study findings, which were published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, are important because these changes in brain grey matter could lead to future psychiatric problems.
  3. Stress ages your children prematurely – If your child is exposed to violence early on, the stress could lead to premature ageing of his or her cells. This is according to research in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, which found that, of the 236 children followed (who were born in England and Wales and were aged five and 10), those who were witnesses of violent acts or victims of violence, had shorter telomeres.
  4. Stress may be passed on from generation to generation – University of Cambridge researchers found that certain markings to the genes of mouse germ cells (before they become eggs or sperm) still exist in the next generation, even though wellness experts previously though that these markings, which are influenced by outside factors like stress, are erased in the next generation.
  5. Stress increases your chances of chronic diseases – While this may not be new information, it’s not just the stress, but how you react to it, that could have an impact on your health down the road. A new study from Pennsylvania State University researchers, published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, found that people who were more anxious about the stresses of everyday life were more likely to have chronic health conditions (such as heart problems or arthritis) 10 years later, compared with people who viewed things through a more relaxed lens.

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