At some point in everyone’s life, stress seems to surface. Some people don’t even know how much stress can affect their health, or maybe they just pass symptoms off as normal in the world we live in. This is why we always stress, pun intended, that you listen to your body; it usually knows what it needs and tries to communicate with you. To pick up on these signals from your body, here are the things you need to know about stress.
Signs of Stress:
Symptoms of stress can be emotional, physical, behavioral, or they can disrupt proper cognitive function. If you experience certain symptoms in excess, try to take the time to minimize stress so you can lead a healthier life. Common symptoms are:
- Inability to Concentrate
- Poor Memory
- Anxious or Racing Thoughts
- Disrupted Sleep Patterns
- Constant Worrying
- Aches or Pains
- Increased Heart Rate
- Frequent Colds
- Depleted Sex Drive
- Easily Agitated
- Inability to Relax
- Eating More or Less
- Using Drugs or Alcohol to Relax
- Nervous Habits (nail biting, stress eating, pacing, or itching)
What Causes Stress:
Stress causes a chemical imbalance in the body. When one gets stressed, the body over-produces cortisol, which makes your thyroid work extra hard to maintain energy levels. Stressors, as they are commonly referred to, are what induce stress. Whether it is an exhausting work schedule, an unsteady relationship, or certain life situations, we often consider associate stressors with negativity. Positive events such as marriage or getting promoted at work can also induce stress. Sometimes stress can be short-term or long-term, the latter of which can lead to severe health problems. Common causes of stress are below.
- Major Life Changes
- Work or School
- Relationship Difficulties
- Being too Busy
- Children or Family
- Financial Struggles
- Chronic Worry
- Perfectionism (or having unrealistic expectations)
- Not Being Flexible (being stubborn)
Tips To Lower Stress Levels:
- Avoid caffeine, processed foods, sugar, alcohol and any unnatural substances. These foods and substances tend to stimulate anxiety and often disable your ability to handle the situation at hand. Eating raw fruits and vegetables provides you with the purest form of the essential nutrients that your body needs. If you are polluting your body with other processed foods and chemicals, then it is more difficult for the body to absorb those nutrients.
- Make sleep a priority. Not getting enough rest can trigger negative brain activity and increase stress. A healthy sleeping pattern can help alleviate stress, providing you with the energy you need for everyday life encounters.
- Schedule relaxation time. Most people are so busy with their everyday life activities that they forget to schedule time to just unwind. It’s a great way to recondition your body. Relaxation time can consist of anything from vacationing, looking at calming visuals, listening to tranquil sounds, alone time, or even taking a walk can help you relax and forget about your stress.
- It is important to identify what you are feeling and then move on. Impatient? Frustrated? Don’t sweat it. Here is a great place to practice non-judgmental awareness and self-compassion: You are human and emotions are natural. They come and go. It’s okay.
- Physiological effects include a heightened heart rate and quicker, shorter breaths. Our muscle fibers need deep inhales and exhales to get the required amount of oxygen for optimal performance. Deep breathing alleviates negative emotions and anxiety, and lowers stress levels. It is an effective tool that can be used anywhere and anytime you need it.