Stress is a necessary (if at times unwelcome) part of life, and it can manifest in many forms:
- Physical stress (i.e. exercise)
- Psychological stress
- Emotional stress
- Financial stress
- Work stress
- Family stress
- Over-scheduling yourself
- Social media
- News outlets
The list goes on.
While stress can be beneficial (as in the case of exercise), the chronic psychological and emotional stress that many individuals are plagued by can make it really difficult to live an enjoyable daily life, let alone get the results they want from the diet and training program.
But, if you want to live a happier life as well as get the best results possible from your transformation challenge, then you’ve got to be able to identify the various sources of stress in your life and take the appropriate steps to reduce your exposure to them and/or improve how you perceive and recover from those various stressors.
9 Consequences of Chronic Stress
#1 Disrupted Sleep
Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your ability to sleep soundly at night. There’s no other way to say it.
What’s worse, this is a hellacious, never-ending cycle that feeds and feeds and feeds itself.
Case in point, you’re stressed, leading you to not sleep well. The next day you wake up feeling extremely tired and groggy, which only exacerbates feelings of stress. That night you struggle to sleep again on account of stress, leading you to feeling exhausted the next day. You’re now in a situation where you feel anxious and stressed about going to sleep for fear you won’t be able to sleep.
Further worsening the situation (as if it already wasn’t bad enough) is that sleep deprivation is known to disrupt hormone production, increase hunger, reduce feelings of fullness, decrease muscle recovery, and impair cognitive function.
All of this is to say that sleep should be something about which you’re excited and craving. It’s the time when you get to unburden yourself and just relax and rest. Unfortunately, the reason many individuals struggle to sleep is that they can’t turn “off” their worrying minds.
This is when it can be beneficial to have a nighttime ritual that helps you unwind and set the stage for a productive night’s rest. In addition, to your usual nighttime habits (avoiding blue light, listening to calming music, etc.), it may also be helpful to use a nighttime relaxation and recovery aid, such as Beauty Dream PM or Recharge PM.
Our men’s and women’s nighttime formulas use natural ingredients to help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety while promoting feelings of calm relaxation all without leaving you feeling hungover or groggy in the morning.
#2 Weight Gain
Building off of the previous point, sleep deprivation is a form of severe stress to the body, both physically and mentally. One of the most common consequences of stress is weight gain.
There are a couple of reasons for this.
For starters, chronic stress can increase cravings (particularly for high calorie, hyper-palatable foods -- chips, cookies, ice cream, fried foods, etc.). Stress also reduces feelings of satiety, meaning you may technically eat enough to satisfy your body’s nutrient needs, but you still keep eating.
Additionally, being stressed all the time leads to metabolic dysfunction and impedes the body’s ability to properly metabolize and store carbohydrates and fats.
#3 Systemic Inflammation
There are two main types of inflammation:
- Acute: which happens in response to an injury (cut, scrape, damaged muscle fibers, etc.)
- Chronic: when the body’s inflammatory response remains in a heightened state
Chronic inflammation is why inflammation is so commonly regarded as something negative these days, and for good reason. It’s known to have a negative impact on your tissues and organs as well as a contributing factor to a number of disorders.[1,2]
#4 Impaired Cognitive Function
No surprise here, when we’re stressed we have difficulty focusing on the task at hand and ultimately being productive.
Furthermore, research shows that stress can impair focus, reaction time, productivity, and overall feelings of mood and well-being.[3,4,5]
#5 Memory Loss
Not only does stress impact your ability to mentally perform at a high level, it is also known to affect memory and recall.
What’s more, chronic stress can impair learning, as the ability to learn is closely linked with memory and recall.
#6 Weakened Immune System
Ever notice that during periods of high stress that you tend to get a runny nose or a cold?
That’s because there is a clear link between stress and immune function. High levels of stress lead to weakened immune function, increasing risk of infection. As if that wasn’t enough, it also takes longer to recover due to the increased severity and duration of the illness.
High levels of stress create a metabolic maelstrom in your body, leading to significant hormone disruption. One of the many unwanted consequences of this biological havoc is acne.
Other skin conditions related to high levels of stress include eczema and hives. On top of that, hair loss is also associated with chronic stress.
To help ward off these undesirable consequences of stress, it’s beneficial to practice stress reduction and mitigation strategies like journaling, breathing exercises, or walking in nature.
It may also be helpful to use a supplement specifically designed for added skin and hair support, such as 1UP Hair, Skin, & Nails.
#8 Diarrhea or Constipation
Definitely not the most pleasant side effect of stress to discuss, but one of which you should be fully aware.
Chronic stress, as we’ve said a couple of times thus far, wreaks havoc on your physiology. This also includes your gut microbiome and health of your digestive system. Beyond diarrhea or constipation, compromised gut health also impairs nutrient absorption, which can impair recovery from workouts, immune function, and overall organ function.
In addition to stress management, having a high-quality gut health supplement, such as 1UP Gut Health Plus, may be useful during those times of high stress. 1UP Gut Health Plus includes a precise blend of probiotics, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes to support digestive health, nutrient absorption, GI and immune function as well as decrease gas and bloating.
#9 Physical Pain
Last, but not least, chronic stress can also lead to physical pain -- headaches, muscle aches, back pain, joint pain. Being in a state of chronic pain can reduce your ability to train hard as well as decrease the motivation or enthusiasm to even do the most basic elements of physical activity, such as taking a walk around the block.
Ways to Reduce Stress
We’ve touched on a few ways to help reduce stress already, but to bring it all together and put an end cap on this article, here is a summary of the ways to reduce/eliminate stress:
- Take a different route to work (it may take longer, but if it gets you out of gridlock traffic, it’ll be worth it)
- Limit time on social media or watching the news
- Avoid/greatly reduce exposure to toxic individuals who don’t have a positive impact on your life
- Improve sleeping habits
- Practice gratitude journaling
- Go for walks in nature
- Exercise regularly
- Limit intake of stimulants and alcohol
- Eat a diverse, nutrient-rich diet full of high-quality foods
To this last point, if you need help figuring out healthy meals to fix that are simple and delicious, make sure to log onto the 1UP Fitness App, where we provide customized macronutrient suggestions as well as meal options to help you achieve your goals no matter if it’s fat loss, muscle building, or body recomposition.
- Katsiari, C. G., Bogdanos, D. P., & Sakkas, L. I. (2019). Inflammation and cardiovascular disease. World Journal of Translational Medicine, 8(1), 1-8. https://doi.org/10.5528/wjtm.v8.i1.1
- Alfaddagh, A., Martin, S. S., Leucker, T. M., Michos, E. D., Blaha, M. J., Lowenstein, C. J., Jones, S. R., & Toth, P. P. (2020). Inflammation and cardiovascular disease: From mechanisms to therapeutics. American Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 4, 100130. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajpc.2020.100130
- Yaribeygi H, Panahi Y, Sahraei H, Johnston TP, Sahebkar A. The impact of stress on body function: A review. EXCLI J. 2017;16:1057-1072. Published 2017 Jul 21. doi:10.17179/excli2017-480
- Mork R, Falkenberg HK, Fostervold KI, Thorud HMS. Visual and psychological stress during computer work in healthy, young females-physiological responses. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2018;91(7):811-830. doi:10.1007/s00420-018-1324-5
- Rodrigues S, Paiva JS, Dias D, Aleixo M, Filipe RM, Cunha JPS. Cognitive Impact and Psychophysiological Effects of Stress Using a Biomonitoring Platform. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018;15(6):1080. Published 2018 May 26. doi:10.3390/ijerph15061080
- Sandi C. Memory Impairments Associated with Stress and Aging. In: Bermúdez-Rattoni F, editor. Neural Plasticity and Memory: From Genes to Brain Imaging. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2007. Chapter 12.Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK3914/