The world today is full of stressors that cause mental anguish. Many of these stressors are unique to our modern society – novel “first world problems” that nonetheless provoke a stress response that is very real, and often chronic.
Our ancestors may have been susceptible to dying from an illness that modern medicine has neutered and made benign… But they also lived much more in accordance with their circadian rhythms, suffered less Instagram-induced status anxiety, never had to grind their way through rush hour traffic, and didn’t use email!
The modern world is a fantastic place to live, but it can also be stressful. Stress can have an impact on many elements of your life and health – let’s take a look at a few below.
How Stress Can Influence Fitness Levels
Most of us would agree that at the end of the day, our health, and the health of those we love, is the most important thing in the world. So why do so many of us live in ways that are damaging to our health?
Stress can have a very negative impact on our health and physical fitness levels. Being physically fit is a crucial component of overall health, but unfortunately many of us have compromised fitness because we are chronically stressed.
How Does Stress Affect Fitness?
Does stress reduce fitness? Yes, stress can reduce fitness levels. Some of the negative effects that stress has on fitness are:
- Increasing muscle tension
- Increasing appetite and promoting storage of body fat
- Increasing risk of injury
- Reducing sleep quality and energy levels
How Do Stress And Anxiety Affect Exercise?
Stress and anxiety can…
- Make exercise less enjoyable
- Negatively affect concentration, ability to focus, and exercise quality
- Hinder recovery after exercise
- Reduce sleep quality, which makes exercise more difficult
- Make people avoid gyms and exercise classes
What Are The Physical And Emotional Symptoms of Stress?
The most common physical symptoms of stress are:
- Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
- Muscle tension, aches, and pains
- Nervousness and shaking
- Upset stomach
- Chest pain and heart palpitations
- Trouble sleeping
- Low energy levels
- Frequent colds and infections
- Loss of sexual interest
- Ringing in the ears
- Cold or sweaty extremities
- Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
The most common emotional symptoms of stress are:
- Low or erratic mood
- Being easily agitated
- A feeling of overwhelm or panic
- An inability to relax your mind
- Negative internal dialog
- Low self-esteem
What Are The Cognitive And Behavioral Symptoms Of Stress?
The most common cognitive symptoms of stress are:
- A pessimistic outlook
- Chronic worrying and rumination
- Racing thoughts
- Trouble focusing
- Disorganized thinking
The most common behavioral symptoms of stress are:
- Using alcohol and/or drugs
- Avoidance behaviors
- Engaging in compulsive coping behaviors such as masturbation, pacing, nail biting, or fidgeting
What Are The Effects Of Stress On Physical Health?
Short-term stress has physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioral symptoms. If/when stress goes away, these symptoms will usually abate. However, long-term chronic stress can lead to a variety of physical health problems, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Gastrointestinal diseases
- Menstrual problems
- Sexual dysfunction, such as impotence and premature ejaculation, or loss of desire
- Skin problems, such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis
- Balding and permanent hair loss
- Long-term mental health problems
Causes Of Stress In The Modern World
Some of the main causes of stress in the modern world are:
- Financial concerns
- Internet overuse and addiction
- Alienation and a lack of face-face connection
- Status anxiety
- Sleep deprivation
- 24-hour news coverage
- Omnipresent advertisements and marketing
- A lack of connection to nature
- Exposure to artificial light that interrupts our circadian rhythm
How Can We Manage Our Stress Levels And Improve Our Fitness Levels?
Here are some ways we can manage stress levels and improve our fitness:
- Eat a healthy diet
- Get plenty of sleep
- Spend lots of time with people whose company you enjoy
- Get off social media
- Limit how much news you consume
- Spend time with animals
- Read a good book
- Go for walks in nature
- Explore supplements that reduce stress levels and improve health
What Are The Best Supplements For Reducing Stress?
Melatonin: Good-quality sleep goes a long way to reducing stress levels. Research suggests that melatonin can improve sleep in several ways, including encouraging the onset of sleep and improving people’s subjective assessment of the quality of their sleep.
Delta Sleep Inducing peptide: Another promising supplement that can reduce stress by improving sleep is Delta Sleep Inducing peptide. Research indicates that Delta Sleep Inducing peptide promotes higher sleep efficiency and shorter sleep latency.
Bioactive Milk Peptides (lactium): Lactium peptide contains amino acids that can reduce cortisol levels, induce relaxation, improve sleep quality, and reduce stress.
Magnesium: Research suggests that magnesium relaxes muscles, improves sleep time and sleep efficiency, and reduces serum cortisol concentration.
Valerian: Research indicates that valerian may help reduce stress by promoting sleep and relaxation and reducing anxiety.