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If you are reading this then I’m betting that you are human which means that you have some level of stress in your life. We all do and there is good and bad stress.
Good stress is a part of life as well as bad stress. We can all manage a certain amount of stress in our lives but when it starts becoming too much. You can begin showing signs of stress that you might be ignoring.
Too often though we are under a lot of stress and even a lot of us struggle with anxiety which can be related to being overstressed.
Life is busy and we have responsibilities and to-do lists, things that we need to get done, people we need to take care of. It can all become a lot and leave us feeling burned out and stressed.
You may be wondering though what all that stress you are dealing with is doing to you. Often we can figure out that we are under too much stress by the signs our body is showing us.
Disclaimer: If you struggle with anxiety please seek support from a qualified mental health professional
What are the signs of stress?
1 you have headaches
If you find yourself experiencing frequent headaches. Stress can definitely be a factor.
Stress can cause tension headaches, which are also referred to as stress headaches. They can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a few days and are characterized by a dull pain or pressure around your forehead or the back of your head.
Although they’re typically not severe enough to prevent you from going about your daily routine, tension headaches are another way your body may be telling you that you’re too stressed out. These headaches can wear you down and make life much less enjoyable and more difficult.
Don’t let these headaches go untreated, because piling on daily stress will only lead to chronic tension headaches, which is definitely something you want to avoid.
Headaches are one of the most common signs of stress that people report having.
2. chronic stomach problems
When you are stressed it can often feel like your stomach is in knots. Which can lead to feelings of nausea and other stomach issues. IBS is often caused or aggravated by stress.
That’s because the colon is partially controlled by the nervous system, and those with IBS tend to have colons that are more reactive to stress, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
If you’ve noticed a sudden unexpected weight loss or gain, take a look at your stress levels. Even positive stress (like holiday parties, wedding planning or a new baby) can cause weight gain or loss.
Changes in appetite and digestive issues can also signal greater health concerns, so always visit a doctor if you experience a dramatic increase or decrease on the scale or if you notice a lot of GI distress.
3. trouble sleeping
When you are stressed you can often have running thoughts and this can definitely lead to insomnia and sleeping troubles. If you have noticed an increase in difficulty getting to sleep, not getting enough hours of sleep or feeling not rested when you wake up. Take a look at your stress levels.
You can start getting better sleep by cutting caffeine or stopping it earlier in the day, getting exercise so you’re more tired at bedtime sleeping in a cool room with less light.
If you are having too many thoughts running through your mind while trying to go to sleep start writing them down, keep a notepad by your bed or use your phone’s note app.
Getting these thoughts out maybe what you need to let them go and allow yourself to fall asleep more easily.
Finding yourself wanting to sleep all the time can also be a signal that you are stressed. If you find yourself sleeping a lot more than normal, especially if it is interfering with your life take a look at your stress levels.
4. Getting sick more often
Growing up we use to do stuff with both my parent’s families around Christmas. Then eventually we started going back and forth one year with one side and the next year with the other.
The reason was that my parents would end up being so stressed out trying to do so much plus the regular stress of the holidays that every Christmas one or both of them would get sick and end up stuck in bed instead of enjoying the holiday with us kids.
Dealing with too much stress can weaken your immune system making you more likely to get colds and other illnesses.
5. You don’t enjoy life as much as you use to
Stress can make you extra sensitive and snippy. Which can make life much less enjoyable and unpleasant.
Life is meant to be enjoyable and we only get one life so if stress is making you unhappy and so that you don’t enjoy your life. Then things need to change. You need to figure out how to make a change.
Stress can cause you to withdraw from life and isolate yourself which may be causing you to be so unhappy. Connecting with your friends and loved ones is a great way to fight off your stress.
6. Your skin is breaking out
Breakouts are caused by a few different things – your diet, exercise, oils of the skin, and hormones – but they’re also caused by stress. Stress can send your internal signals haywire, causing unwanted breakouts. And what do we do when we break out? Stress even more about it.
When my stress levels go up I can tell it because my face is a mess and I hate it. It’s a reminder to myself to deal with the stress and figure it out.
7. You are losing your hair
We all shed hair every single day — it’s a totally normal part of the hair growth process. But what if you start losing more hair than you’re used to, finding more strands in your brush, down the drain, or all over your clothes?
Stress and hair loss are linked in three ways: one, called Telogen effluvium, is when the hair follicle is pushed out prematurely before completing a full growth cycle, resulting in excess shedding. Alopecia areata is systematic hair loss in which your immune system is actually attacking your hair follicles, causing them to fall out.
8. Anxiety and depression
Panic attacks and anxiety are very real and very frightening. If you have panic disorder, depression or anxiety, you may need to seek medical help. That said, stress can certainly exacerbate these issues and even cause them to spiral out of control.
As many of you know, I have dealt with anxiety and depression for several years. I know when my stress gets out of control, those feelings can start creeping back in.
From a scientific point of view, stress causes your body to go into “fight or flight” mode, so the adrenalin and other hormones released can cause the rest of your brain chemistry to get a little out of whack. Suddenly, you may find yourself having bouts of intense anxiety or you might feel looming symptoms of depression.
This illustration from The American Institute of Stress is super informative and covers all the physical effects of stress on your body.
What to do if you are too stressed?
If you find that you are showing too many signs of stress you may be wondering what you can do about it. Make sure you take care of yourself physically by eating well, getting enough rest and making time to care for yourself.
Remember if you don’t take care of you then you won’t be able to care for anyone else. So make time to make yourself a priority. Give yourself the chance to refresh and recharge by caring for yourself. Doing this will help you to deal with any stress that you face.