10 Signs Someone is Too Stressed (and Doesn’t Know it)
Stress could affect our health and well-being without us realizing it. We may think the reason for our nagging headache, reduced productivity at work, or frequent insomnia is some health problem, when in fact stress is the culprit.
Stress can affect our body, feelings, thoughts, and behavior. In fact, it affects every part of our physical and mental health. If we don’t recognize the common symptoms of stress in time, they could lead to heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, etc.
Even though stress is an inevitable part of most people’s everyday life, you have to learn how to avoid it or at least manage it.
A little stress could be a positive thing, motivating you to get things done. However, excessive and constant stress can be a serious threat to your physical and mental health.
The brain releases cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream as a result of raised stress levels in the body. This hormonal response makes sure our body curbs detrimental or nonessential functions in fight-or-flight situations. This enables you to deal with the threats in such conditions.
However, overexposure to cortisol and adrenaline hormones can negatively impact each of your body systems, leading to many health problems.
They include digestive problems, depression, heart disease, headaches, weight gain, sleep problems, memory problems, and concentration impairment.
Here are some of the most common signs you are too stressed, as well as a few helpful stress-coping tips.
10 Physical Signs You are Too Stressed
The most common cause of a tension headache is stress. This type of headache is characterized by pain in the head, behind the ears, and neck which can range from mild to moderate and intense. Besides this type of headache, stress can also cause and worsen migraines.
2. Digestive Problems
Stress makes the brain open the floodgate for hormones, exposing the digestive system to the harmful effects of stress. According to researchers, the brain is closely connected to the digestive system, which is why stress can trigger a lot of digestive problems.
Chronic stress can even worsen irritable bowel syndrome and other existing conditions.
3. Frequent Colds & Infections
Stress increases the heart rate, putting extra pressure on the circulatory system. This, along with increased blood pressure, can weaken the immune system’s ability to detect and neutralize bacteria and other illness-causing bacteria.
4. Weight Gain
As we said, stress stimulates the release of cortisol – a hormone that increases appetite and cravings for junk food and makes your body prone to the buildup of belly fat. However, besides weight gain, some people experience weight loss because of stress.
5. Stomach Problems
Stomach issues are one of the most common side effects of excessive stress. Other stomach-related problems connected to stress include cramps, indigestion, nausea, and aches.
Physical, mental, and emotional stimuli can cause stress which disrupts the normal functioning of the body. Stress increases tension and pressure levels in the body, thus making it more susceptible to fatigue.
7. Palpitations or Chest Pain
Stress and anxiety are closely connected, so one thing always leads to another. This frustrating mental cycle could lead to pain and tightness in the chest. Since chest pain is a rather frightening experience, this only increases the present anxiety/stress.
Studies have found that stress increases the risk of heart attack and heart disease, as well as blood clotting which can lead to other heart problems.
8. Loss of Libido
Stress takes over the brain chemicals which are responsible for the male and female libido. What’s more, it can even cause problems in ovulation and fertility in both, men and women.
9. Tight Muscles
When under stress, the muscles tense up to prevent injury. Once you relax, they will release, but if you are under stress all the time, they might not be able to relax. As a consequence, you’ll have tight muscles that might cause body aches, shoulder pain, back pain, and headaches. ‘
10. Difficulty Breathing
Stress can cause difficulty breathing, especially in those with existing respiratory diseases, such as asthma or emphysema. According to the American Psychological Association, acute stress, like the death of a family member, can be an asthma trigger.
Also, stress can cause panic attacks in people prone to these attacks, as it causes hyperventilation or rapid breathing.
Tips to Cope with Stress
- Organize your thoughts and relieve your stress by writing down the stressful events you have experienced that day;
- Do some activity you enjoy, such as volunteer work or some hobby;
- Talk to your friends or family about the stressful feelings you have and try to find a healthy way to get rid of them. You can also ask for professional help;
- Do stretches every day to reduce muscle tension. Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to relieve stress;
- Practice guided imagery or meditation to focus on the present;
- Try music therapy, aromatherapy, or simply get a relaxing massage;
- Yoga, muscle relaxation, and breathing techniques can all help reduce stress.