This post is contributed by One Drop Founder – Kai Tan.

Do you often feel like you have a residential rock band that lives inside your head? That head throbbing drives you up the wall! Perhaps you frequently turn and toss in the nights when sleep just escapes you? And when you finally do, you fiercely clench your teeth or just about to turn your molars into sawdust as you grind those teeth at night.

Forgetfulness, trouble focusing your attention, changes in appetites, irritability, neck and back pains, palpitations, falling ill frequently – all are but a small portion of the long list of symptoms often accompanying STRESS.

Here’s a quick run-down of what stress does to our bodily systems. When you realise the magnitude of what stress can impact, you may have a better understanding the urgent and dire need to modulate the levels of stress we allow ourselves to experience daily!

1. Nervous System

– When stressed (physically or physiologically) the body automatically goes into “Fight/ Flight/ Freeze mode” to deal with perceived threat
– The parasympathetic system signals the adrenal glands to release adrenaline & cortisol (hormones)
– These hormones cause heart to beat faster, raise blood pressure, change digestive process etc
– When the sympathetic system is heightened sleep is affected

2. Musculoskeletal System

– When stressed, muscles tense up.
– Prolonged contraction of muscles causes headaches, migraines etc

3. Respiratory System

– Stress can make you breathe harder or cause rapid breathing (hyperventilation) which can bring on panic attacks

4. Cardiovascular System

– Acute stress (stress that is momentarily) causes increase in heart rate & stronger contractions of the heart muscles
– Blood vessels that direct blood to the large muscles & heart dilate and increases the blood pumped to these areas of the body
– Repeated episodes lead to inflammation of the coronary arteries ~ thought to lead to heart attacks

5. Endocrine System

– When stressed, the brain signals the adrenals to produce Cortisol & Epinephrine (stress hormones)
– When these are released, the liver produces more glucose, blood sugar for the body to have energy to perform “fight-flight” reactions

6. Digestive System

– When stressed, the brain produces Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone (CRH) that causes you to lose appetite
– CRH leads to production of Steroids & Adrenaline; which can cause over-eating
– Stress affects digestion and what nutrients your intestines absorb

7. Reproductive System

– In men, increased cortisol can impair testosterone and sperm production and cause impotence
– In women, stress can cause irregular painful or absent menstrual periods.It can also reduce sexual desires
Scent is a powerful way to affect our experiences of stress. Go to this blog post to find out more what you can do with your toolkit of essential oils!

Kai Tan is one of the 4 original founders of One Drop – a Singapore grown YL team that is fast growing around the world with more than 10,000 members. She is a certified health coach with Institute of Integrative Health (NYC). Follow her on her blog, email her at or start your young living journey with her here.


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