Between natural disasters, travel bans, #MeToo, and acts of gun violence–2017 has often been really stressful and hard, and, honestly, it hurts. There are many ways grief and sadness impacts your body physically, and it’s the kind of information it seems like we’ve just gotta learn this year to support ourselves and our friends and loved ones.
Here are a few ways grief and sadness impacts your body physically, because it’s all too relevant these days.
1It can quite literally change the stress-related chemicals in your brain
As this article from Prevention notes, a study in Molecular Psychiatry found that continual sadness can alter levels of stress-related chemicals in your brain, increasing inflammatory proteins in your blood like those associated with heart disease and stroke.
2It can make you more vulnerable to infectious diseases
A study found in journal Ageing and Immunity found that the recent loss of a loved one can make your body more susceptible to infectious diseases, especially if you’re older.
3It makes you so, so tired
Exhaustion is common when someone loses a loved one or someone they cared for, an article in Everyday Health notes. So if you feel too drained to go about your day-to-day routine, you’re not alone.
4It can cause anxiety and depression
Mental Health America says that prolonged grief can trigger anxiety attacks and depression, which isn’t surprising considering how much we’ve struggled with our mental health this year.
5It can also become difficult to eat, or you may end up overeating to feel more “full”
Another common physical symptom of grief is the feeling of emptiness that some try to fill with food. Or, on the flip side, you can find it hard to eat anything at all because you feel so empty.
Long story short? If you’re hurting, you’re not alone. We wish we could take away your grief, but just know we’re right here with you, and it’s okay to grieve. We’ll get through this, together.