How does mental stress affect your health?
It’s been well-known that people in high-stress jobs have an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, obesity, and even cancer. Any stress on your body whether it is physical, emotional, or mental, affects the function of what’s called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, or the HPA axis.
Your hypothalamus is the operating system of all the vital systems in your body, including your heart function, your respiratory rate, and your temperature. As well as your reproduction, your weight, your glucose metabolism, all of your hormones, your nervous system and your immune function.
When your hypothalamus is out of balance, it cannot properly orchestrate your hormones, your immunity, or your nervous system.
Your hypothalamus can become out of balance when you’re under stress for a long period of time. Even mental stress can overstimulate your hypothalamus with the constant production of adrenaline. The sympathetic nervous system will stimulate the adrenals to produce adrenaline to initiate the fight or flight response to the perceived stressor. With mental stress, you may not be able to run away or fight the danger, yet adrenaline is constantly turning on the hypothalamus, which then stimulates the adrenals to produce cortisol. Cortisol’s job is to release stored sugar to fuel the fight or flight. But if there isn’t a true fight or flight to fuel, all that extra sugar and extra insulin floating around is very inflammatory. And that inflammation causes arteriosclerosis, leading to heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke as well as dementia.
Inflammation can also affect immune function, which can increase your risk of catching everything that’s going around. Eventually, your immune system isn’t paying attention to mutant cells, leading to cancer. So in short, mental stress definitely affects your health because it dysregulates your hypothalamus. The more you do to support your hypothalamus, the easier it is for you to handle mental stress as well as recover from chronic stress.
If you have any questions regarding mental stress and your hypothalamus, I’d love for you to join me in our Hormone Support Group, which you can access through my free Hormone Reboot Training.