Causes & Risk Factors
Stress often results if a person feels that there are high pressures or demands, that there is a threat to their well-being or that they don’t have enough resources to cope with the demands.
Common sources of stress include a person’s physical environment , relationships, work, life situations and major life changes. These situations can include negative events such as financial problems, relationship breakup, difficulties at work or school, injury, illness or death and grieving. However, situations leading to stress can also include positive changes, such as work promotions, getting married or buying a house.
Because stress is a normal part of life, everyone experiences it. However, the intensity, frequency and duration of stress will be different for each person. Numerous factors can make the experience of stress worse, such as when people:
- have limited social support
- have difficulty regulating or balancing their emotions
- have difficulty tolerating uncertainty or distress
- lack self-confidence or do not feel they can cope with the stressor
- interpret the stressor negatively, so that they feel powerless, overwhelmed or helpless.
Improving Your Ability To Handle Stress
Get moving. Upping your activity level is one tactic you can employ right now to help relieve stress and start to feel better. Regular exercise can lift your mood and serve as a distraction from worries, allowing you to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed stress. Rhythmic exercises such as walking, running, swimming, and dancing are particularly effective, especially if you exercise mindfully .
Connect to others. The simple act of talking face-to-face with another human can trigger hormones that relieve stress when youre feeling agitated or insecure. Even just a brief exchange of kind words or a friendly look from another human being can help calm and soothe your nervous system. So, spend time with people who improve your mood and dont let your responsibilities keep you from having a social life. If you dont have any close relationships, or your relationships are the source of your stress, make it a priority to build stronger and more satisfying connections.
Engage your senses. Another fast way to relieve stress is by engaging one or more of your sensessight, sound, taste, smell, touch, or movement. The key is to find the sensory input that works for you. Does listening to an uplifting song make you feel calm? Or smelling ground coffee? Or maybe petting an animal works quickly to make you feel centered? Everyone responds to sensory input a little differently, so experiment to find what works best for you.
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Stress Causes Fatigue By Causing Chronic Physical Pain
One of the biggest problems with chronic stress are the effects on the brain. We just talked about some of those effects in the last point on depression, with how stress affects neurotransmitters, BDNF, and chronic HPA activation.
But here is the even bigger issue beyond these specific individual mechanisms: chronic stress causes fatigue by literally changing the structure and function of your spinal cord and brain in profound ways. Let me explain how this happens:
Normally, pain signals from the body travel through nerves to the spinal cord and then up to the brain. The brain then processes this information and we get the sensation of pain.
But with chronic stress, the brain begins to process these pain sensations with greater and greater sensitivity. So less and less of an actual stimulus is needed to induce pain. In severe chronic stress and pain thats gone on for years, this can get so severe that a person will feel even a light caressing touch as a sharp pain. .
This does not happen because the touch was actually harming their body, but because their nervous system and brain have now been rewired into being so oversensitive that every sensation is now felt as pain.
It also forms a vicious cycle, because pain itself will contribute to even more stress.
Chronic stress causes fatigue because it can lead to chronic pain, and chronic pain can contribute to stress becoming even more intense and chronic. ,
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Decreased Energy And Insomnia
Chronic fatigue and can also be caused by prolonged stress.
For example, one study of 2,483 people found that fatigue was strongly associated with increased stress levels .
Stress may also disrupt sleep and cause insomnia, which can lead to low energy.
One small study found that higher levels of work-related stress were associated with increased sleepiness and restlessness at bedtime .
Another study of 2,316 participants showed that experiencing a higher number of stressful events was significantly associated with an increased risk of insomnia .
These studies show an association, but they dont account for other factors that may have played a role. Further research is needed to determine if stress can directly cause decreased energy levels.
Other factors that may play a role in decreased energy levels include dehydration, low blood sugar, a poor diet or an underactive thyroid.
Summary Stress is associated with fatigue and disruptions in sleep, which may result in decreased energy levels.
How Stress Affects Mental Health
When someone is under chronic stress, it begins to negatively affect his or her physical and mental health. The bodys stress response was not made to be continuously engaged. Many people encounter stress from multiple sources, including work money, health, and relationship worries and media overload.
With so many sources of stress, it is difficult to find time to relax and disengage. This is why stress is one of the biggest health problems facing people today.
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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.
You Feel Like You Have To Do Everything
You have a hard time relying on others to follow through, so you do it all yourself. This leads to perfectionism, stress, and overwork. In the workplace, it can make it difficult for you to work as part of a team, because you dont feel comfortable delegating or counting on others to do their part.4
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Does Sleep Help Stress
Getting enough sleep on a nightly basis can alleviate stress quite effectively. Unfortunately, a good nights rest can be elusive if youre stressed out especially if sleep problems are a major source of your day-to-day anxieties.
There are other measures you can take to relieve stress. These include regularly exercising and maintaining a healthy support network of friends and family. However, keeping stress at bay often demands adequate sleep. National Sleep Foundation guidelines advise that healthy adults should sleep between seven and nine hours each night.
How To Sleep When Stressed
Stress management is key to a good nights sleep, and how well you manage stress can depend on your day-to-day lifestyle. In addition to following a balanced diet and exercising throughout the week, you can alleviate stress through controlled breathing and other relaxation techniques. A healthy work-life balance is also important, as is your ability to productively release stress during situations that cause stress, and not at other moments.
Laying in bed when you are too stressed to sleep can be counterproductive. If you havent gone to sleep within 15 minutes of going to bed, try getting up and relocating to another area of your residence for a relaxing activity such as reading, meditating, or listening to calming music avoid watching TV or other activities that involve blue light devices.
Some people also experience anxiety when they wake up in the middle of the night and see the time on their bedside clock. Avoid looking at your clock if you wake up cover the display if necessary.
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Things You Should Know About Stress
Everyone feels stressed from time to time, but what is stress? How does it affect your overall health? And what can you do to manage your stress?
Stress is how the brain and body respond to any demand. Any type of challengesuch as performance at work or school, a significant life change, or a traumatic eventcan be stressful.
Stress can affect your health. It is important to pay attention to how you deal with minor and major stressors, so you know when to seek help.
Here are five things you should know about stress.
Stress And Afib Can Stress Cause Arrhythmia And Other Heart Issues
Over the years, doctors and researchers have identified stress as a major cause of a number of health issues. These health issues are ranging from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and even personality disorders. To serious life-threatening conditions such as heart attack, heart disease, and stroke. But can stress cause AFib ?
In todays article, we will discuss the link between chronic stress and AFib. As it is the most common type of arrhythmia seen in patients today. We will also discuss chronic stress as the cause of other common heart issues as well.
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Respiratory And Cardiovascular Systems
Stress hormones affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. During the stress response, you breathe faster in an effort to quickly distribute oxygen-rich blood to your body. If you already have a breathing problem like asthma or emphysema, stress can make it even harder to breathe.
Under stress, your heart also pumps faster. Stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict and divert more oxygen to your muscles so youll have more strength to take action. But this also raises your blood pressure.
Stress Causes Fatigue By Disrupting Your Circadian Rhythm And Sleep
One of the most potent ways that stress causes fatigue is by impacting our sleep and circadian rhythm . Weve all had the experience of being stressed out by something going on in our lives and how that affects our sleep. Think racing thoughts keeping you up all night. Not very fun.
It is known that stress can disturb circadian rhythm. In turn, disrupted circadian rhythm results in all sorts of other issues:
- Lower resiliency in the face of stress
- Increased rates of dozens of diseases
- Daytime sleepiness and fatigue
Stress causes fatigue by directly impacting on sleep in many ways , :
- It prolongs sleep latency , which leads to chronic sleep deprivation
- It greatly decreases the amount of slow wave sleep
- It can impact the emotional states you experience during sleep and dreaming, and can cause nightmares. This can lead to a vicious cycle where whats happening during sleep is actually stressing you out even more instead of being a time when you are recovering from stress.
Loss of sleep is often regarded as the mother of all health issues. So the effects of stress on sleep should be a big concern of yours. This is perhaps the most common way that stress causes fatigue.
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How To Overcome Stress Moving Forward
What you want to do is use the 6 powerful strategies on how to overcome stress and get your energy back, in this article to break that cycle and create positive upward spirals of low stress, low inflammation, positive mood, great sleep, resistance to infection, and big healthy mitochondria that are pumping out lots of energy.
See A Doctor For Severe Stomach Problems And Commit To Your Anxiety
If your stomach problems have become a serious issue, it’s safe to contact a doctor. There are some harmless issues that can lead to persistent stomach problems, and medical intervention can be valuable.
But you also need to commit to curing your anxiety. It’s the only way to guarantee anxiety stomach problems go away forever.
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Not Sure What To Do Next
If you or someone you know are finding it difficult to manage mental health issues, try healthdirects Symptom Checker and get advice on when to seek professional help.
The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether its self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero .
In Time For The Holidays: Can Certain Foods Increase Stress And Anxietyyour Browser Indicates If You’ve Visited This Link
When you get stressed or anxious, do you reach for something salty or sweet, or do you lace up and go for a walk or run? For many who feel stressed or anxious, especially during times like these, our natural instinct is to reach for foods for comfort and maybe even for an escape.
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How Does Stress Affect Sleep
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder derived from stress. Insomnia is defined as persistent difficulty with sleep onset, maintenance, consolidation, or overall quality. It occurs despite adequate time allotted for sleep on a given night and a comfortable place to sleep, and people with insomnia experience excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, irritability and other impairments when they are awake. Current estimates suggest 10-30% of adults live with insomnia.
- Problems or dissatisfaction at work
- Divorce and other marital or family difficulties
- The death of a loved one
- Major illness or injury
- Crucial life changes
Not everyone develops chronic insomnia due to constant stress, but those with anxiety disorder are at higher risk of experiencing insomnia symptoms. Additionally, changes to ones sleep schedule that occur due to life events or changes can also lead to insomnia. Once chronic insomnia takes hold, people often feel anxious about sleeping and other aspects of their lives. This increases day-to-day stress, which in turn exacerbates insomnia symptoms.
Other daytime impairments related to insomnia that can bring about or contribute to stress include:
If someone experiences insomnia symptoms for fewer than three months, then this condition is referred to as short-term insomnia. Just as chronic stress can precipitate chronic insomnia, acute stressors can bring about short-term insomnia symptoms. These stressors may include:
What Are The Most Common Anxiety Symptoms
Anxiety is a natural, protective feelinga temporary response to an actual or perceived threat, and the symptoms of anxiety usually resolve once the threat has passed. Anxiety disorders, however, cause symptoms that are chronic and significant enough to interfere with someones ability to function at their usual capacity.
The symptoms that are most disruptive can vary depending on the person and their specific diagnosis, Neda Gould, Ph.D., associate director at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Anxiety Disorders Clinic, tells SELF. Examples could be excessive worry, panic attacks, or intrusive thoughts. She explains that these symptoms may indicate an anxiety disorder when they interfere with the persons day-to-day life.
Other mental and emotional symptoms may include:
- Intense worry and stress
- Difficulty concentrating
Chronic anxiety disorder symptoms are the result of stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, being constantly released into the bloodstream. Thats why, for many people, anxiety can have physical effects too.
Anxiety has a purpose, and had an evolutionary purpose to protect you, says Dr. Gold. That physical response is what helps us escape the perceived threat, she says, but it becomes a problem when the body is constantly in fight-or-flight mode.
One of the most common symptoms is feeling restless or on edge, sort of like you cant calm down, Dr. Gold adds. Other milder physical symptoms may include:
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Managing Stress In Daily Life
Stress is not an illness itself, but it can cause serious illness if it isn’t addressed. It’s important to recognise the symptoms of stress early. Recognising the signs and symptoms of stress will help you figure out ways of coping and save you from adopting unhealthy coping methods, such as drinking or smoking.
There is little you can do to prevent stress, but there are many things you can do to manage stress more effectively, such as learning how to relax, taking regular exercise and adopting good time-management techniques.
Studies have found that mindfulness courses, where participants are taught simple meditations across a series of weeks, can also help to reduce stress and improve mood.