Stress really isn’t a bad thing. It’s actually a natural process designed to protect or at the very least prepare us for imminent danger. Stress is what helps us run from threats or push through chaotic situations. But it’s important to recognize the symptoms of stress because they can sneak up on you without your being awareness of it. We get used to that feeling of constantly being over worked and over stimulated.
In small doses and for a short time, stress is a good thing. It becomes a problem when we are totally stressed out and it’s constant. Chronic stress is what causes things like adrenal fatigue, high blood pressure, belly fat and heart disease.
If you have a constant wired, tense feeling, more than likely you are stressed out.
Many times we don’t even realize just how stressed out we are until something major happens and our body then forces us to slow down. Don’t let it get that far. Learn to recognize the early signs you are stressed out. Learn to control the stress, work on reducing the stressful situation, and most importantly make time to rest and relax so you can recover from the unavoidable stress and pressure life throws at you.
Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.” – Khalil Gibran
10 Symptoms of Stress
- A general feeling of anxiety and feeling unwell.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Lack of concentration and focus.
- Mindless eating and snacking throughout the day. (Sweet and salty foods are particularly appealing!)
- Needing a nightly glass of wine or beer to unwind.
- Feeling overwhelmed.
- Hair loss
- Compromised immunity.
- Depression and loneliness.
- GI symptoms including nausea, dizziness, and diarrhea.
The problem is that these symptoms of being stressed can stress us out even more. We may respond by pushing harder, which makes us feel even worse.
What Happens To Your Body When You’re Stressed?
Stress may cause emotional distress such as depression and anxiety. Not only that, but you may start having physical issues in your body. You may even notice certain issues that are more long-term problems from ongoing stress in your life. Here are some ways that stress affects your entire body and a few relaxation techniques to help you manage stress more effectively.
Ongoing Tension and Pain
One of the most common ways that stress can affect your entire body is by causing tension. This tension may show up in your muscles, neck, and other mysterious aches and pains. The tension can lead to chronic pain as well. This pain can be in the form of severe headaches or body aches that require medication to heal. If you have ongoing stress and tension, you may find yourself experiencing issues related to inflammation and even serious body issues like Fibromyalgia.
When some people are stressed they may experience eating issues that lead to severe eating disorders. You may find yourself binge eating. Or you might even find yourself experiencing so much stress that you can’t keep food down. This can lead to an emotional and mental connection that drives you towards anorexia or other related issues. Learning to live more mindfully and and developing strategies to reduce anxiety is one of the best ways to manage disordered eatings. (If disordered eating is making your life unmanageable, please seek professional help.)
Another thing to consider is stress can affect your heart over time. Unchecked stress can lead to high blood pressure. When this happens you can experience shortness of breath and possibly even stroke or heart attack if it is ongoing and happens often. If your blood pressure or stress are out of control, it’s essential that you seek professional help right away in addition to stress management techniques.
You will find that as you remove stress from your daily life, you will start to find the long term effects will reduce. To remove them completely, you will need to focus on each aspect and work to make sure that your stress does not get to a level that the long term issues rise again. Regular exercise routine, meditation, and healthy eating can all help with this.
Stress Management Techniques
The only way to break the cycle of being stressed out all the time is to address THE problem… the stress.
We can do this by making a conscious effort to cut (or reduce) stress, learning simple relaxation techniques, and learning to give ourselves the time and rest that we need to recover.
- Limit caffeine.
- Don’t drink to relieve stress. Alcohol will likely make things worse.
- Increase physical activity
- Try meditation
- Talk to a friend
- Keep a journal or try adult coloring
- Improve your time management
- Know when to say no.
- Take a day trip out in nature.
- Join my 30 day stress reduction challenge for easy to implement, actionable tips to reduce stress in your life!
In this life, we’re all going to experience stress. Unchecked it can contribute to poor health.We can’t always control everything. But we can control how we respond to it.
You can’t always control what goes on outside, but you can always control what goes on inside.” – Wayne Dyer