Six Ways Stress Affects Your Body

Yoga is a great way to relax, get a great workout in and rid your body of stress. While it is a normal part of life, stress can have a negative impact on your body as well as your mind when left unmanaged. It can lead to mild discomfort or even chronic pain and illness. If you’re experiencing any of these stress related physical symptoms, consider looking into therapeutic methods of stress management like yoga:

1- Headaches

The number one indicator of too much stress is a pounding headache. If your mind is racing and your muscles are always tense, it will likely take a toll in the form of a tension headache or migraine. If your symptoms are mild enough, you can likely manage this pain with relaxation methods such as yoga or meditation because breathing and mindfulness techniques will help get everything in check. However, if your pain is chronic and debilitating, it may be worth visiting your doctor for additional recommendations and treatment.

2- Illness

Do you find yourself unable to fight off that cold or picking up every little bug that goes around the office? This could be the result of stress. When our bodies experience stress, they release a hormone called corticosteroid that help us deal with the crisis at hand. However, this hormone also tends to suppress our immune system, making it difficult for our bodies to fight off infection and viruses. Next time you can’t seem to get well, check in with yourself and make sure you aren’t over-stressed.

3-Lack of Sleep

We all know how important is it to get enough sleep. Stress is one of the main causes of insomnia. When we can’t seem to relax or calm down before bed, our thoughts can keep us awake at night, depriving us of essential REM sleep that our bodies need to fully recharge. This leads to fatigue, irritability and loss of productivity. Next time you find yourself stressed out and unable to sleep, try unwinding by powering down electronic devices and practicing some gentle yoga before bed.

4-Stomach and Digestion Issues

Did you know that stress can cause serious gastrointestinal complications? It could be as simple as an upset stomach and nausea or as serious issues as gastritis, stomach ulcers and an irritable colon. If you feel your stomach getting upset at the first hint of stress, try a drop of mint essential oil or a mint lozenge. Mint is known for helping ease an upset stomach and relaxing muscles. Certain yoga poses like twists can aid with digestion and yoga in general can lower stress so combined it can help to combat these issues. If you are experience serious or repeated medical issues though then you always want to consult a physician.

5-Chronic Disease

When stress goes unmanaged for too long, it can lead to serious complications such as high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney disease. These issues all center around how healthy your blood is and how well it is being filtered by your body. If you are concerned about how well your body is managing stress, you can begin looking at your glomerular filtration rate (GFR), a measurement of how well your kidneys are working to clean your blood. Take a look at an online GFR calculator to get a sense of whether you should seek out medical attention.


Unmanaged stress can even lead to arthritis and other bone or muscle conditions. By holding stress in the neck and shoulders, you can cause strain on your body that leads to more serious or permanent pain. Getting in a routine of relaxing your muscles and practicing proper posture can help you prevent chronic aches and pains caused by stress.

There’s no need for unmanaged stress to create problems for you in the long run. Consider adding holistic practices like yoga into your regular routine to ensure a healthy, pain-free lifestyle.

Jenny Hart is a health and wellness writer with a passion for travel, cycling and books. Her focus is topics related to the affects of aging on health and she is interested in research that can help people age better. When she isn't writing or travelling, she's traversing NYC with her two dogs Poochie and Ramone.