How to Stop Comparing – The Physical Side Effects of Stress

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH

Comparing yourself to others can cause the physical side effects of stressPeople are like the stars in the sky – we all come from the same place but we are all different. Although we might look alike, we shine in a different way, some of us are bigger, and some are smaller. We all have the bad habit of comparing others to us or vice versa. This is not healthy and it can be dangerous. Here are a few ideas why you should not do it and how to stop comparing yourself to other people. But first, what do the physical side effects of stress do to you?

The Physical Side Effects of Stress on the Body

Constantly comparing yourself to others does nothing but increase your stress levels. Continuous stress leads to adrenal dysfunction, with the adrenal glands producing either too much or too few stress hormones, such as cortisol and insulin. The result is you feel tired all the time, are moody or depressed, suffer from a hormone imbalance, develop a resistance to insulin, or develop autoimmune disorders, to name but a few. In other words, the more you compare, the more you worry, the more you worry, the higher your stress levels, the higher your stress levels, the more you start worrying. The end result is the loss of your health and your looks and the physical side effects of stress can really be felt and seen.

But how does your constant comparing to others cause you to end up with health and other problems?

It is due to your adrenal glands. These two small glands situated on your kidneys are responsible for a healthy response to stress – under normal conditions. Let’s say you get a fright. Your body immediately and automatically response to this crisis by releasing cortisol and adrenaline. The adrenal glands produce these two life-saving hormones. Your blood pressure rises, you have a heightened sense of awareness, your thinking is clearer, and you are ready to respond to the situation. At the same time, your body is so preoccupied with combating the stressful situation that other metabolic processes are either shut down or decreased, as they are not seen as necessary for survival. However, when the situation arises that your stress continues for long periods, the adrenal glands need to keep on producing cortisol, which means the other necessary hormones are not paid the attention they need with regards to their production. The end result is, of course, a hormone imbalance, among other things. With this, you have other problems, such as weight gain and even period problems showing the physical side effects of stress.

The physical side effects of stress on the body can lead to Adrenal Fatigue as the adrenals tire out and can no longer keep up with the production of cortisol (but your stress levels are still high), you start getting the classic symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue. These include anxiety or depression, constant tiredness or lack of energy where you struggle just to get through the day, you might notice your skin is thinner and is dry, your blood sugar levels are low – you may even develop insulin resistance or diabetes, you have heart palpitations for no reason at all, your hair thins, and you could even develop either constipation or diarrhea!

How to Beat This Type of Stress

Inadequacy and the physical side effects of stressFirst of all, you should realize that the pattern of beauty imposed by media, fashion and society is absolutely consumer orientated. For example you have to be below a certain weight, have blond hair, blue eyes, white teeth, impeccable skin, and a perfect body, then you are absolutely the best. But how many people are like that naturally? So, society offers you weight loss supplements, eye contacts to change your eye color, hair dye, teeth whitening agents, cosmetics, and plastic surgery to correct body imperfections. Then we will all look like Ken and Barbie. Will anyone notice you? No, you will mingle together with others that look just like you. You will be just one of the million people that are the same. So, just embrace the idea that you are unique and this is a quality that no one can take away from you. Accept your imperfections and turn them into strong points. For example, if you are a bit plump, choose elegant clothes that suit your figure, if you have hazel eyes, use makeup to emphasize their beauty, if your hair is auburn – make a nice hairstyle and show it to the world. Thus when you are comparing others to you, you will see how different you are and that is your charm. Another tip to stop underestimating yourself, is to manifest who you truly are. Although you will need self-esteem to get out of your shell, do it step by step and you will realize that there is nothing better than being confident about your personality. When you realize that people are our mirrors, the way we feel about ourselves, this is what we project to others to feel about us. So, your first goal in life should be to love yourself. Everyone has their own personal beauty and comparing others to ourselves should trigger us to expose it more and more. So, every morning when you wake up, step in front of the mirror, look straight into it, and tell yourself that you are unique and beyond compare. This affirmation will make your day.

Comparing yourself to others can cause the physical side effects of stress

© Copyright 2013 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.