How Stress Affects the Body- Realizing We Can Control How Stress Affects Our Bodies

Erin Benjamin 

If people in general annoy you, and you spend more of your time being aggravated and frustrated than happy and at peace, you may need to work on how you respond to potentially stressful situations. This is essential due to how stress affects the body.

How Stress Affects the BodyRonald Glaser, director of Ohio State University’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, along with his wife Janice, found in their study of the mind-body connection that chronic stress can produce abnormal changes in the immune system. They discovered that chronic psychological stress can keep wounds from healing, impair the effectiveness of vaccines, and weaken the immune system, especially in caregivers. There is research emerging, however, that suggests we can change how stress affects the body by simply changing how we respond to potentially stressful situations.

Whether you realize it or not, stress is caused not by what happens to you, but how you react to it. Put another way, stress does not happen to you, but rather it happens because of you. The ways we respond to people and situations around us determines how stress affects the body. The good news is we can do something about it.

The first way we can change the way stress affects the body is to change our focus. Discipline your mind to focus on solutions rather than on problems. Most of the time those who suffer from stress tend to dwell on problems, churning over things that are causing them stress, thus actually creating the stress. While stress management techniques are helpful, the real key to reducing stress is changing our focus from the problem to finding as solution.

Consider the following examples of changing focus to change how stress affects the body:

  • Focus on reaching an agreement, rather than the fact that someone is disagreeing with you.
  • Focus on the task at hand and the good achieved rather than a few mistakes or what others will think.
  • Focus on keeping a good nature and sense of humor and do not dwell on harsh words from a client.
  • Focus on the big picture. In the grand scheme of things, how small is your problem in light of the much larger problems of the world.
  • Focus on moving on after becoming victim to someone else’s bad mood. It is not your problem. Get the point and move on.

There will always be people who get on your nerves and other stressful situations to deal with. Do not let finding a successful method for stress management distract from the cause that is closest to home, which is your own reactions to such people and situations. When you consider how stress affects the body in such negative ways, you realize life is really too short to spend worrying and stressing over anything. Find a solution to whatever is going on and get on with your life. You will be happier and healthier because of it.