We live in a go-go world where everything is on all the time. Because of this, our minds and bodies have adapted to certain stressors causing us to believe that what we may be experiencing is normal. If you don’t know what to look out for you could be operating in a level of stress that affects you both physically and mentally which could lead to health problems down the road.
Signs Of Stress That Are Affecting You Physically
Stress is a reaction to harmful situations that are either real or perceived. When this happens chemicals occur in the body that put you into a flight or fight response in order to avoid harm. This is also why everyone responds differently. What may trigger stress in you is not necessarily going to trigger stress in another. Some stresses are even considered good when it comes to causing you to react in potentially harmful situations like almost getting into a car accident. Thankfully, our bodies are designed to deal with stresses however, when stress becomes chronic it can take a physical toll on the body.
Signs of physical stress include low energy, headaches, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, tense muscles, aches and pains, insomnia, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, frequent colds or infections, loss of sexual desire or ability, dry mouth, difficulty swallowing, clenched jaw or grinding of the teeth, nervousness, cold or sweaty hands and feet, shaking or ringing in the ear. The long term physical problems that can be a result of chronic stress include depression, anxiety, personality disorders, eating disorders, obesity, menstrual problems, premature ejaculation, impotence, acne, psoriasis, eczema, permanent hair loss, heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks. Strokes, GERD, gastritis, ulcerative colitis and irritable colon.
Signs Of Stress That Are Affecting You Emotionally
Many people experience bouts of emotional stress but when it takes over your mental health it can, unfortunately, have long term effects. Some signs of emotional stress include irritability, depression, anxiety, low sex drive, memory and concentration problems, compulsive behaviors and mood swings. It’s important to remember that stress in small doses is okay. It’s when stress is chronic that you will want to talk with your physician to prevent any mental health problems.
Tips To Manage Stress
- Regular Exercise– Regular exercise is key when it comes to keeping your body healthy. Establishing a routine of up to 2.5 hours a week of moderate intensity or a little over an hour a week of vigorous intensity is a good goal. No matter where you start, always remember to be practical when introducing a new routine into your lifestyle so you are less apt to give up because of unattainable goals.
- Relaxing Your Muscles– A natural reaction to stress is tense muscles so practicing ways to relax them can be highly beneficial. A hot bath, massage or even stretching are great ways to accomplish this.
- Deep Breathing Techniques– There are a lot of techniques out there when it comes to deep breathing. Many of which can be found on your phone via apps. Other ways to practice deep breathing are taking a yoga class or meditation.
- Proper Nutrition– Proper nutrition is huge for the overall health of your body. Learning what foods work best with your body is key in creating a lifestyle of healthy eating. Some people do not do well with certain carbs so pay attention to how your body responds after you eat and if you notice an adverse reaction like bloating or feeling sluggish, start eliminating those foods from your diet. Eating your daily servings of fruits and veggies is a great goal as well.
- Take More Breaks– This may seem impossible but taking breaks does not have to be done in long increments. If you’re able to take a power nap here and there that’s great but if time or life does not allow something like a nap then even taking five minutes to practice that deep breathing we talked about.
- Practice Slowing Down– This can be done anywhere at any time. Are you noticing yourself rushed? Slow down. Are you driving over the speed limit? Slow down. Skipping those work breaks? Take them! There’s a lot of ways you can implement the practice of slowing down. It is simply a matter of choice.
Why It’s Important To Manage Stress
Our bodies are built to handle varying levels of stress at different times. In small doses, our body is capable of doing its job but when stress is a constant in our lives it can be hard for our body to recalibrate which is why periods of rest are important in order to avoid overworking our natural body functions. With this being said, it’s important to manage stress. To avoid your body burning out mentally, physically or possibly both, managing your stress will help you to stay healthy and perform at your optimal level. It will also help reduce your risks of incurring health problems.
At NW Functional Medical Partners stress relief programs, natural stress relief and specific stress management are helping patients to effectively reduce stress and its effects.