How WORRY Ruins Your Body (HOW TO STOP IT)

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 01/01/2024

How WORRY Ruins Your Body (HOW TO STOP IT)

Picture this: you're on a rollercoaster, and the climb's making your heart race. That's stress kicking in.

You know that jittery feeling? It can stick around like an unwanted guest, messing with your muscles and mind.

But imagine flipping the script. What if I told you we could smooth out those loops and drops?

In what you're about to read, we'll dive into brain changes from constant worry, how it throws off our digestive dance, and ways to reclaim calmness—to hobbies that heal and sleep secrets for serenity.

We've got strategies up our sleeve because no one should live life stuck at the top of a stress peak.

The Impact of Chronic Stress on the Body

Do you think your brain is the only part taking a hit from stress? Think again. It's like an unwelcome guest, showing up in places it wasn't invited—like your muscles and hormones.

We're talking fundamental changes here, not just feeling "off." Your gray matter can shrink under pressure.

Muscle loss isn’t just for astronauts—it’s also a down-to-earth problem when cortisol levels rise for too long. That tightness in your shoulders might be more than just knots; it could be muscle atrophy waving hello.

And gentlemen, this one’s for you: high stress can mess with testosterone levels too, leaving you less than your best.

Let's face facts: adrenal glands are drama queens that love to kick things into overdrive when they’re stressed out—and who ends up suffering? You do—with enough health consequences to make even health experts blink twice.

Stress and Digestive Health

You might think stress knots up your shoulders, but it can tie your stomach to a similar twist. When stressed, our bodies get the message to fight or flee—not sit down for a lovely meal.

The Gut-Stress Axis

Ever had butterflies in your stomach before a big event? That's the gut-stress axis at work. Stress doesn't play nice with our digestive organs—it’s like an unwelcome dinner guest that disrupts enzyme production and puts bile secretion on hold.

This leads to all sorts of tummy troubles, from acid reflux and gastritis to fat digestion woes.

If you've been wondering why constipation becomes your annoying companion during stressful times, blame it on stress hogging the body's attention and slowing down peristalsis—the movement that keeps things flowing through your intestines.

helicobacter pylori infection

Managing Digestive Issues Caused by Stress

Facing off against these symptoms isn’t just about popping antacids or laxatives; it’s also about taking jabs at stress. You can help ease those issues with relaxation techniques—think walking or weight lifting—to calm both mind and belly alike.

Mindfulness could be key here: becoming more aware of what stresses you may give insight into how to manage its effects better. And let's not forget diet changes. Simplifying meals can take some pressure off an already strained system.

The Consequences of Worrying

Have you ever noticed how a dog chases its tail, going round and round but never really catching it? That's what worrying feels like.

Unlike problem-solving, which leads to solutions, worry traps you in a cycle where stress levels rise without payoff. Think about it; when was the last time fretting over an issue magically fixed it?

Breaking the Cycle of Worry

You're not alone if you've mistaken worrying for thinking constructively. It happens. But here’s the twist: excessive rumination can fuel anxiety rather than ease it.

Focus on action steps to break free from this loop instead of getting stuck in the 'what ifs.' Swap out your worries for plans.

Sure, sometimes life throws us curveballs that seem impossible. Yet adopting a ‘doer’ mindset keeps our brains too busy devising strategies to stay fixated on fears—kinda like switching from a sitting duck to an agile ninja navigating through challenges.

Lifestyle Adjustments to Lower Cortisol Levels

Think of your body as a finely tuned string instrument. When the strings are too tight, the music is sharp and tense—much like our bodies on high cortisol. But what if we could tune down that tension? Well, we can.

Hobbies That Heal

Diving into hobbies isn't just about killing time; it's like sending your brain on a spa retreat. For instance, art therapy isn’t merely splashing colors around—it’s been shown to dial down cortisol levels significantly.

It's all about engaging in activities that give stress the slip-slide treatment out of your life.

The Role of Sleep in Stress Management

Ever feel like a zombie after a lousy night’s sleep? That's because poor Zs can crank up stress hormones big time. So let’s flip this around: improve sleep quality, and you turn down the volume knob on stress.

A cool bedroom might not sound groundbreaking, but it works wonders for some serious shuteye.

Evolving Beyond Our Ancestral Stress Response

Our ancestors faced predators and environmental threats, but today's stress is a different beast. Unlike the immediate 'fight or flight' situations that are quickly resolved, we're now wrestling with chronic mental demands our bodies aren't built for.

Historical Perspective on Stress

We've come a long way from endeavoring to evade huge-toothed felines. But here's the kicker: evolution hasn't caught up to our high-speed world filled with endless notifications and looming deadlines.

The result? A brain signaling red alert far more often than necessary, leaving us in a constant state of vigilance without respite—something we were never meant to sustain.

The twist in this plot comes down to adaptation—or, rather, the lack thereof. While our physical environment has evolved rapidly through technology and urbanization, our biological response mechanisms are lagging by millennia.

It turns out that constantly bracing ourselves for metaphorical meteors takes its toll; ask your gray matter, which might be shrinking due to prolonged exposure to cortisol—the stress hormone once proper for sprinting away from danger but less helpful regarding email alerts at 3 AM.

The Health Risks of Elevated Cortisol

Think of cortisol as nature's built-in alarm system. It's your body's primary stress hormone, but like an overzealous security guard, it can cause trouble if it doesn't know when to take a break.

Continual fretfulness and strain don't just cause you to feel tense; they can really lead to some severe medical issues.

Cortisol's Role in Ulcers and Inflammation

You might blame spicy food for ulcers, but let’s point the finger at chronic stress instead. High cortisol levels can weaken the protective lining of your stomach, paving the way for ulcers.

But wait—there’s more. This same pesky hormone plays a role in stoking fires throughout your body—not just those heartburn-inducing kinds—but inflammation that fuels diseases from A to Z.

Cortisol chart illustration

Cortisol's Effect on Immunity

Imagine your immune system is a superhero team—it needs balance to fight off villains like viruses and bacteria effectively.

Enter high cortisol: the villainous plot twist that weakens our heroes' defenses by messing with their communication lines—the immune cells—and potentially reactivating dormant viruses lurking in the shadows.


So you've taken the ride through Stress City, and now it's time to hop off. You know chronic stress isn't a joke—it can shrink your brain, mess with your muscles, and throw hormones out of whack.

But there's hope on the horizon. How do you reduce cortisol levels and stop worrying? It starts in your gut—keep that digestive dance smooth by staying calm under pressure.

Break free from worry chains; remember, productive problem-solving beats pointless fretting any day. And don't forget those hobbies—they're not just fun; they heal.

Sleep isn't for the weak—it's for the wise who want less stress. Finally, take heart: our ancestors might have had different stresses, but we've got this because we adapt—we always do.

You’ve got what it takes to lower those panic peaks into manageable hills of harmony. Go forth with these tools—and live lighter!

Supporting Data

Healthy Keto Guide for Beginner

FREE Keto Diet Plan