What are the effects of long lasting stress?

StressThe effects of long lasting stress can never be underestimated. In this article we explain you what the effects can be but also how you can reduce stress and even prevent it. First we will explain you exactly what stress is and how it arises.

What is stress?

Stress is nothing more than a physical reaction where the physical body or psyche is being put under pressure. You noticed that you are stressed when you have a faster heartbeat and higher blood pressure. The body is actually trying to warn you with these effects. Short lasting stress is harmless and can even help you deliver better results. Are you however finding yourself experiencing stress for a long while? Then you might be in danger of chronic stress. This can have detrimental effects on the body such as heart problems or damage to your blood vessels. Someone undergoing chronic stress feels he or she is unable to handle anything anymore. Here below we describe what all the causes and effects can be of long lasting/chronic stress. We can subdivide the consequences into physical and psychological effects.

Possible causes

There are many possible causes that can cause stress within you. Here below we have placed some examples. It is important to find the cause of stress. Only then you can do something about it. Circumstances listed below will almost always heighten the chances of becoming (chronically) stressed:

  • You have a physical disease
  • You have experienced something traumatic, such as rape, a car accident or robbery.
  • You are finding yourself in a divorce or have recently been divorced
  • A loved one (your partner for example) has passed away
  • You have relationship problems
  • You have been mistreated or abused
  • You are a caretaker
  • You have lost your job
  • You are in financial problems
  • You are a single parent
Besides these obvious causes of stress, there are also the more subtle causes that can cause major distress in a human being. The causes we can think of here are overthinking, having too many expectations of the future, self image problems etc. 

Psychological consequences of chronic stress

The psychological effects of chronic stress are not exactly innocent. When people are undergoing prolonged periods of stress, then they sooner or later find themselves in a burn-out. Depressions are also common for people that are suffering of a lot of stress. The problem is that a burn-out or depression is the cause of becoming even more exhausted. You will find yourself in a vicious circle in which you might not get out without reaching for help. Did you get into a burn-out because of prolonged tensions? Then it is important to seek help straight away. Below you will read what the physical effects can be of stress.

The physical effects of prolonged stress

A stressed out person can get, when he or she is under high levels of prolonged stress, sooner or later also physical problems. It is even the case that physical problems can be the first sympton of stress. In general the physical effects when undergoing chronic stress are headaches, muscle aches and heart palpitations. Memory loss can also occur, high blood pressure and loss of concentration is also a reoccurring sympton. People that are suffering from a lot of stress can also find it hard to get to sleep. When the body experiences stress a hormone is released which is called cortisol. Cortisol is actually the cause of all physical problems.
All the effects of stress:

  • Tiredness and low energy levels
  • Tensions in the body
  • You are irritated quite quickly, get angry or suffer from crying
  • Depressive and somber feelings
  • Forgetfulness
  • Finding it hard to get to sleep
  • Headaches and stomach aches
  • Neck and back issues
  • You seem to get the one cold after the other (weak immune system)

Function of stress

Does stress also have a function? Sure it does! When having stress the body releases a stress hormone called adrenaline. Adrenaline makes sure that you are alert and are able to run away (or fight). When enduring prolonged stress the body will also make another stress hormone called cortisol. This hormone damages the body, heart and blood vessels in particular.

How can you prevent getting stressed?

Stress can not always be prevented successfully. Sometimes you simply find yourself in a stressful situation without asking for it. You can however make sure that stress does not become chronic! And that last part is important. In any case you need to try to gain control over your stress levels. It is thus important that you rest enough, take regular brakes whilst at work and make what you are doing in your life clear for yourself. Avoid surprises, also financially. Clear up conflicts, talk about quarrels directly when they happen and do something you like regularly. Do not invest your energy in negative things. Try to reflect on stressful periods.

Reducing stress levels

To reduce feelings of being stressed you can find endless tips on the internet. We have listed a number of them that we believe are important. Try to fit them into your daily live. We also recommend you to search the internet yourself to find good tips to battle stress. You will find many worthwhile tips here! Below you will find 5 tips to reduce stress.

Try to put things in perspective

Putting things into perspective often helps stressed people to control their problems more effectively. People can get stressed by myriads of situations but it is often unnecessary. Then it can really help to put things in to perspective. For instance, ask yourself what would happen when you would not finish your work in time, or how important a particular friendship is when every time you meet the day ends up into an argument. Is the cause of your stress worth it to allow it to be in your life? Can't you just skip certain tasks at work? Try to put things into perspective after each stressful situation. In the end it will benefit you a lot!

Take a day off and plan enough brakes

It seems so easy but people simply forget now and again to take a break. Don't only take a break from your work or study when you have something left to finish. But also regularly take a day or a weekend off to simply do nothing! Doing nothing is something that not many people can do anymore these days. Maybe you are finding it difficult to simply do nothing too. When we are talking about doing nothing we mean going out for the day, reading a book or doing something else that totally relaxes you. Just like it is important to regularly take a day off, it is also important to take sufficient amount of breaks during your working hours. If possible we recommend to at least take a short break every 2 hours.


In the category of taking a day off and breaks, it is just as important to daily plan enough down time. Were you busy at work? Then don't just go to other appointments when you get home but take some time to rest. Do some relaxing stretching exercises, take a warm bath or listen to your favourite music for an hour or so. Go to bed on time and sleep for at least 8 hours a night.


When you are stressed, tensed or nervous, it is important to talk about your feelings. Do not hide your feelings but try to talk about them with someone. Maybe with your partner, your supervisor or simply with a good friend. Talking about it can really clear up a lot! Are you running into any metaphorical walls. Then it can cause a lot of stress keeping it to yourself. It could be a good idea to look for a confidential (perhaps on work or school) and tell him your problems. Consider going to a psychologist, it is really no shame to seek the help of a professional who has studied the human psyche for years and can perhaps lay their finger on the exact cause of the problems you are facing. He or she can thus perhaps help you reduce your stress levels through appropriate considerations.

Healthy living

It is of course logical, but a healthy body can reduce stress much better than an unhealthy body. Therefore it's important to eat as healthy as possible, do not drink so much coffee and alcoholic drinks, do not smoke and move daily. You will notice that you get a lot more energy and things looking to be against you are not so hard to deal with anymore.

Take a daily cold shower!

Taking cold showers is back in fashion. Professional sportsmen are using ice baths for gaining the best muscle recovery and drain toxic substances. But we recommend reading more about the advantages of taking a cold shower on your physical and mental health! A daily cold shower reduces stress. One cold shower a week doesn't give you much results. You need to stand daily for at least 2 minutes under a cold water shower before you notice a change. Research showed that test subjects, that took a cold shower daily, after about half a years worth of taking cold showers had a much lower heart rate and frequency of breathing. A lower heart rate and breath mean that the body is calm. Try it!


Article written by: roybor
Times read: 1706x
Added: 18-12-2016 13:07
Last modified: 10-01-2017 22:55

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