Chronic Fear and Physical Health
Although fear is an emotion, its effects span far beyond our mental health. In fact, fear is associated with many physical health conditions due to its direct impact on hormone balance, neurotransmitters, and the body’s regulation systems. Here are just a few ways chronic fear impacts the body:
Reduced Immune Function
High levels of cortisol (a hormone released in response to stress and fear) greatly weaken the immune system’s ability to fight disease. With chronic fear, these levels are elevated constantly, making the body more susceptible to illness.
Poor Gut Health and GI Dysfunction
Because the gut and brain are closely related, fear has a clear impact on the health of the digestive system. Studies show that chronic fear and anxiety can damage the gut’s health microbiome and is closely tied to GI disorders like irritable bowel syndrome.
Fear, stress and anxiety increase your bodies demand for nutrients. First, the production of stress hormones and neurotransmitters associated with “fear” consumes many of the nutrient reserves. Then, because stress largely shuts down the digestive system, less nutrients get absorbed from the food you eat. Consequently, as your supply of fear combating nutrients is decreased, so does your tolerance to fear. Thus, eating a rich nutrient dense diet is important and supplementing may be necessary too.
Chronic fear is inherently linked with the cardiovascular system. Studies show that this link between fear and heart health is so strong that those with chronic fear, anxiety, and depression are significantly more likely to experience cardiovascular health conditions during their lifetimes.
Diminished Overall Wellbeing
Chronic fear can cause a general sense of poor health by stealing our energy and our joy. Those with chronic fear or anxiety are often burdened with overwhelming fatigue, increased pain sensitivity, fertility challenges, and more.