Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Cholesterol
Whether or not youre stressed, its smart to see your primary care physician once a year for a complete exam, including a check of blood pressure, heart rate, weight, cholesterol, and thyroid hormones. And dont let a doctor brush off your stress.
When women have heart palpitations, doctors are more likely to think that theyre either experiencing stress or anxiety, or that theyre hysterical in some way. As a result, women tend to be underdiagnosed with heart disease, says Dr. Haythe. And this happens despite the fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. A good rule of thumb: If unusual symptoms persist for more than a week or two, see your physician.
Physical Symptoms You Didnt Know Were Caused By Stress
The way we’re feeling inside has a bigger physical impact than you’d think.
The word ‘stressful’ is commonly used these days as a throwaway term to describe any kind of less-than-ideal set of circumstances. But stress – real, serious stress that can be caused by anything from moving house to starting a new job, or becoming a first-time parent – can actually impact a person in a big way. And that includes physically.
With a Guardiansurvey carried out for Mental Health Awareness week revealing that three in four Britons have been so stressed that they have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope on at least one occasion in the last year, we wanted to look into the physical manifestations this kind of stress can have on a person.
We asked Nuffield Health’s Brendan Street, who’s Professional Head of CBT , to talk us through all the ways stress can turn into physical symptoms, because once you can identify stress, you can actually do something about it:
1. Feeling tired
“Stress has a physiological effect on your body by releasing hormones into your bloodstream which accelerate your heart rate and your breathing. This constant strain on your system can have an exhausting effect, leaving you feeling tired all the time.
2. Teeth grinding
5. Irritable bowels
6. Loss of libido
7. Appetite loss or gain
8. Hair loss
9. Getting sick easily
10. Increased heart rate
11. Dry mouth
What Are Some Symptoms Of Stress
Stress affects everyone differently. Some ways that chronic or long-term stress affects women include:
- Pain, including back pain
- Acne and other skin problems, like rashes or hives
- Feeling like you have no control
- Overeating or not eating enough
- Being easily angered
- Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
- Less interest in sex than usual
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How Do I Know If I’m Too Stressed
The key to stress management is finding the right balance between productive stress and stress that makes you feel overwhelmed and unproductive.
You can look out for physical signs of stress as well. Stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released by your body and cause your heart to beat faster and your breathing to quicken. Your stomach may feel uneasy, your muscles may tense up and your skin can become sensitive.
All of these are signs that your body is preparing for a fight or flight situation. These feelings should pass soon after the stressful situation is over. If they dont pass, it may be a sign that you are too stressed.
The point where stress is no longer productive is different for everyone, but you can look out for the following clues:
- feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope
- feeling on edge or unable to stop worrying
- changes in sleep patterns, feeling exhausted
Sometimes internal stress can be brought on by anxiety, depression or self-criticism. Talking negatively about yourself and feeling as though you are never living up to your own or others expectations can be very stressful and can strain your mental and physical health.
How To Deal With Prolonged Stress
If you think that you are being affected by prolonged stress, there are things that you can do to help find relief. Establishing effective stress management practices is important for maintaining good physical and mental health.
Even if you cannot always control the sources of your ongoing stress, you can manage the ways that you respond and cope. Some strategies that might help are listed below.
What Causes Sleep Procrastination
People procrastinate on going to bed because issues such as available entertainment and a misaligned biological clock outweigh their self-control and motivation. Many common causes of general procrastination, such as negative emotions, resentment, and lack of motivation, can also lead to bedtime procrastination.
How Is Stress Diagnosed
Stress is subjective not measurable with tests. Only the person experiencing it can determine whether it’s present and how severe it feels. A healthcare provider may use questionnaires to understand your stress and how it affects your life.
If you have chronic stress, your healthcare provider can evaluate symptoms that result from stress. For example, high blood pressure can be diagnosed and treated.
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Your Mind Is Scattered
Even though you prepared for presentation with a major client, read over your notes for hours and felt ready to blow them awaywhen the time came, you couldnt put words together. Neuropsychologist Amy Serin says when we feel incredibly stressed, we wont be able to access memories or information. And, our minds will have difficulty focusing, no matter how much we have studied for an event. This is because our body goes into a state of anxiety, jeopardizing all functions that arent necessary for immediate survival to shut down. The same brain network, called the salience network, all chooses what youre able to pay attention to and when. So while you want to be giving 100% attention to your project, you cant help but become distracted by anything and everything else. If your salience network hasnt already done it for you, conscious attempts to tune out sounds and smells become harder and if youre in a state of anxiety youre way more likely to be annoyed by things you normally could tune out, she explains.
To help these symptoms, she suggests using a meditation app thatll teach deep breathing techniques. These short bursts of mindless, yet conscious relaxation will come in handy the next time you cant process something at work. Its also important to surround yourself with positive people, so phone a friend when you need it to walk through your angst. Or, go for a walk where the fresh air can clear your headand lower your trepidation.
Try A Relaxing Activity
For those who experience chronic stress, scheduling relaxing activities regularly may help them manage and control it.
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Emotional Symptoms Of Chronic Stress
Emotional symptoms of stress are often some of the earliest indicators that youre experiencing too much stress. When we are facing significant pressure, its common to experience temporary emotional symptoms such as mood swings or irritability. But when these feelings persist for an extended period, it may be a sign that your stress levels are too high.
Build A Support Network
While relationships can sometimes be a source of prolonged stress, having supportive people in your life to lean on also acts as an important buffer against acute and chronic stress. Research has found that social support is critical for both physical and mental health.
Not only does support help people become more resilient, but it also helps protect people from developing mental disorders related to stress and trauma. For example, one study found that social support helped reduce the effects of stress on symptoms of depression.
Finding support doesn’t mean you need to have an enormous network. The American Psychological Association suggests that having a handful of friends and family members can provide the emotional support you need to better manage your stress.
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Is Sleep A Coping Mechanism
Naps and Other Ways to keep Depression Symptoms in Check. Have you ever seen someone post on social media: I just woke up from my depression nap? According to an article in the Huffington Post, a depression nap is a way for those suffering from depression to avoid their feelings and use sleep as a coping mechanism.
What Are Some Strategies For Stress Relief
You cant avoid stress, but you can stop it from becoming overwhelming by practicing some daily strategies:
- Exercise when you feel symptoms of stress coming on. Even a short walk can boost your mood.
- At the end of each day, take a moment to think about what youve accomplished not what you didnt get done.
- Set goals for your day, week and month. Narrowing your view will help you feel more in control of the moment and long-term tasks.
- Consider talking to a therapist or your healthcare provider about your worries.
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Job Loss And Unemployment Stress
Losing a job is one of lifes most stressful experiences. Its normal to feel angry, hurt, or depressed, grieve for all that youve lost, or feel anxious about what the future holds. Job loss and unemployment involves a lot of change all at once, which can rock your sense of purpose and self-esteem. While the stress can seem overwhelming, there are many steps you can take to come out of this difficult period stronger, more resilient, and with a renewed sense of purpose.
Behavioral Symptoms Of Chronic Stress
Behavioral symptoms of stress are the most obvious signs and can include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Substance abuse
- Inability to relax or sleep
There are many ways to reduce the symptoms of these conditions, but identifying what is causing them is one way then address the issue head-on. For example, if youre feeling angry, make sure youre getting enough sleep and exercise. If you find yourself using substances as a coping mechanism, try talking to your doctor about treatment options or join a 12 step program like AA.
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What Are The Consequences Of Long
A little stress every now and then is not something to be concerned about. Ongoing, chronic stress, however, can cause or exacerbate many serious health problems, including:
- Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and personality disorders
- Obesity and other eating disorders
- Menstrual problems
- Sexual dysfunction, such as impotence and premature ejaculation in men and loss of sexual desire in both men and women
- Skin and hair problems, such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema, and permanent hair loss
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as GERD, gastritis, ulcerative colitis, and irritable colon
What Are Some Ways To Prevent Stress
Many daily strategies can help you keep stress at bay:
- Try relaxation activities, such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, breathing exercises and muscle relaxation. Programs are available online, in smartphone apps, and at many gyms and community centers.
- Take good care of your body each day. Eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep help your body handle stress much better.
- Stay positive and practice gratitude, acknowledging the good parts of your day or life.
- Accept that you cant control everything. Find ways to let go of worry about situations you cannot change.
- Learn to say no to additional responsibilities when you are too busy or stressed.
- Stay connected with people who keep you calm, make you happy, provide emotional support and help you with practical things. A friend, family member or neighbor can become a good listener or share responsibilities so that stress doesnt become overwhelming.
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Surprising Ways Stress Can Affect Your Body
Everyone experiences stress, but not everyone experiences it in the same way. While stress may be best known for taking a toll on the mind, sometimes physical symptoms are your bodys way of telling you that your brain is under too much stress.
Patients come in with real physical symptoms, but they arent caused by any illness, says Loretta Howitt, MD, a psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanentes Los Angeles Medical Center. Stress is the underlying problem that needs to be addressed.
Whether you have physical symptoms, mental and emotional symptoms, or both, finding healthy ways to manage stress can help you find relief.
Common physical signs of stress
Even if you dont feel frazzled, your body could be sending you subtle signs that its time to address your stress. When in doubt, talk to your doctor to rule out any physical health issues. But if these symptoms sound familiar, its possible that stress is to blame:
Dry mouth and trouble swallowing Stress can slow down the production of saliva, which can cause dry mouth and make it difficult or uncomfortable to swallow.
Hair loss Hair falls out naturally when the hair follicle moves from the growth cycle to the resting cycle. Stress can disrupt this pattern and cause more follicles to enter the resting cycle at once leading to increased, more noticeable hair loss.
Upset stomach Stress can cause gastrointestinal symptoms of all types, including abdominal pain, heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation.
The Effects Of Chronic Stress
Your nervous system isnt very good at distinguishing between emotional and physical threats. If youre super stressed over an argument with a friend, a work deadline, or a mountain of bills, your body can react just as strongly as if youre facing a true life-or-death situation. And the more your emergency stress system is activated, the easier it becomes to trigger, making it harder to shut off.
If you tend to get stressed out frequently, like many of us in todays demanding world, your body may exist in a heightened state of stress most of the time. And that can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can suppress your immune system, upset your digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process. It can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.
Health problems caused or exacerbated by stress include:
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How Much Stress Is Too Much
Because of the widespread damage stress can cause, its important to know your own limit. But just how much stress is too much differs from person to person. Some people seem to be able to roll with lifes punches, while others tend to crumble in the face of small obstacles or frustrations. Some people even thrive on the excitement of a high-stress lifestyle.
Factors that influence your stress tolerance level include:
Your support network. A strong network of supportive friends and family members is an enormous buffer against stress. When you have people you can count on, lifes pressures dont seem as overwhelming. On the flip side, the lonelier and more isolated you are, the greater your risk of succumbing to stress.
Your sense of control. If you have confidence in yourself and your ability to influence events and persevere through challenges, its easier to take stress in stride. On the other hand, if you believe that you have little control over your lifethat youre at the mercy of your environment and circumstancesstress is more likely to knock you off course.
Your attitude and outlook. The way you look at life and its inevitable challenges makes a huge difference in your ability to handle stress. If youre generally hopeful and optimistic, youll be less vulnerable. Stress-hardy people tend to embrace challenges, have a stronger sense of humor, believe in a higher purpose, and accept change as an inevitable part of life.
Youre Tired In The Morning But Unable To Fall Asleep At Night
The cofounder and chief medical adviser of Nutrafol, Dr. Sophia Kogan, explains that when our adrenals are in overstimulation mode thanks to chronic, prolonged stress our cortisol levels become imbalanced. What does that mean? When you have a manageable schedule that includes enough sleep and mental breaks, youll feel energetic when you first wake up in the morning, and at nighttime those cortisol levels will be low, and youll be able to fall asleep easily. Often the pattern is reversed with chronic stress, where are lowest in the morning and then rise at night. This can make us tired in the morning, wired during the day, and tired by night when you want to go to sleep, but cant, she explains. Often when this happens, our body craves all of those goodies that actually arent great for usa Starbucks drive-by, just one cookie at the local bakeryin the middle of the afternoon. When you give in to this temptation, Kogan says youll feel burnt out and fatigued, and yet still unable to sleep.
To help get your internal rhythm back on track, Kogan suggests practicing smart, consistent sleep hygiene by going to bed at the same time every night and waking in the morning like clockwork, too. Though it will be difficult at first, ease yourself into an earlier bedtime in 15 minute increments to make it more digestible. She also recommends yoga or meditation to rebalance stress and cortisol levels, since it teaches you how to be in control of your mental processes.
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