Stress is arguably one of the most silent killers on the planet, largely because people don’t realize something is going wrong, or they refuse to act on it. Stress is Hurting you.
But why does stress contribute to so much to poor health?
It is because stress is often not noticed. Many people don’t even realize that they are suffering from stress overload until it’s a huge problem.
Interested to know if your stress is rapidly becoming out of control? Look for the following tell-tale signs:
Unexplained Pain or Body Aches
A little pain here and there is normal, and should be nothing to get worried over; but it can be worrisome when it occurs too often. Chronic stress causes these aches and pains. If there is no other physical cause for your pain, it might be stress hurting you.
Muscular pains from stress most commonly occur around the back, neck or shoulder areas, and may be attributed to poor sleep patterns, although it is not always the case. Medication to treat the pain may only yield temporary relief, and should not be relied upon as a long term solution.
Frequent Colds And Infections
One thing associated with high stress levels is the negative effect on immunity. Cortisol (the stress hormone in our body) suppresses the immune system and leaves the body wide open to infection. Forget about making it through flu season unharmed if you have high stress levels.
Poor Sleep Patterns
Insomnia is usually one of the first signs to appear when you are over-stressed, as cortisol does not work by itself. In fact, it recruits the neurochemicals adrenalin and noradrenalin, which enhance awareness, and energy levels.
This is an important function in the mornings when you need that “get up and go” boost, but not at night when you should be unwinding.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure involves multiple pathways all experiencing dysfunction. In the case of a stressed out person, high blood pressure is precipitated by increased retention of water (which increases blood volume), faster heart rate, and blood vessel constriction. Again, it’s the stress hormone Cortisol that causes these things. All these factors increase blood pressure, so care needs to be taken to manage cortisol and stress levels.
Loss Of Sex Drive
Both men and women require a normal level of testosterone to modulate sex drive, but this important hormone is suppressed when levels of the stress hormone cortisol are high. Cortisol and testosterone share a negatively inverse relationship, meaning that as one goes up, the other goes down. If this loss of sex drive occurs in a young person, who previously displayed normal behavior, it can be a clear indicator that individual is overstressed.
Frequent Outbursts Or Mood Swings
It can be hard to maintain a level head when stress levels are high, causing you to lash out on anyone who seemingly irritates you. This is not normal behavior, especially if you’re normally level headed.
Depression Or Feelings Of Inadequacy
Stress can seriously affect your emotional well-being, especially since it can tear apart relationships with loved ones. You are likely to be irritable, picking fights, or feel pressured to perform. This can amount to depression, anxiety or feelings of disappointment.
If you find yourself experiencing one or more of the symptoms above with increasing frequency, it is time to take a step back and really look at the amount of stress you have in your life. Continuing this way could have serious health implications, and I don’t want that for you!
Make a plan to reduce your stress. Remove some tasks from your list, take some time off, or ask for help.
Tell me in the comments: Do you have any of these physical symptoms? What is your favorite stress relief tip?