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5 Physical Signs You're Stressed Out

Are You Stressed Out? Know the Signs

Many times, we underestimate the impact stress can have on our well-being. Here are some of the ways your body may be telling you to slow down, along with a few relaxation techniques for when you are feeling stressed out.

What Exactly is Stress?

Stress is the body's response to potentially harmful or important situations, whether perceived or authentic. When stressed, your body undergoes a chemical reaction, known as the "fight-or-flight" response. During this reaction, your heart rate picks up, muscles tighten, breathing quickens and blood pressure goes up. In the short term, this response could save your life or get you to the top of your game during a job interview. In the long term, however, constant stress can contribute to serious health problems , including obesity, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, depression and even asthma.

Symptoms of Stress

In today's world, stress can mean different things to different people. While we would all experience stress when coming face-to-face with a lion, some of us may experience stress in response to relatively minor circumstances. Regardless of the causes, however, stress can still damage our health. If you experience any of the following, there's a good chance that stress is becoming a problem in your life.

Your cannot sleep. Insomnia and frequent waking are telltale signs that stress is overwhelming your mind and body. What's worse, inadequate sleep can actually promote stress, resulting in a vicious cycle. To cope, many people resort to alcohol or sleeping aids to promote drowsiness. This can create a dependency issue, while resulting in shallow, non-restorative sleep. If you find yourself up at odd hours during the night, consider trying mindfulness meditation, which is proven to promote sleep and reduce stress.

You fly off the handle. Stress can cause people to become moody, agitated and easily frustrated. You may also feel overwhelmed due to a perceived loss of control. When people are stressed out, they tend to have trouble relaxing and may avoid others. They may also develop poor self-esteem, depression and feelings of worthlessness. If this sounds like you, consider talking to a friend, family member or therapist to explore ways to reduce your mental load.

Your body is going haywire. When exposed to stress hormones for extended periods of time, our bodies can start to malfunction. You may experience nausea, acid indigestion, constipation or diarrhea. You can also develop aches and pains, along with a loss of sexual desire. Stress can also cause impotence in men and heavy periods in women. Many times, stress can also weaken our immune systems, leaving us more vulnerable to frequent colds and infections.

Your mind is unreliable. When long-term stress combines with long-term sleep problems, minds tend to fray. Many times, this results in racing thoughts, constant worry, forgetfulness, disorganization, poor judgment, pessimism and an inability to focus. If you feel like stress is changing the way you view the world, it's time to take action. Many people experience stress relief when they incorporate exercise, mindfulness and therapy into their lives. On the other hand, sometimes you have to target the actual source of your stress and eliminate it if possible.

You hate your job. Dealing with too many deadlines, an uncomfortable office culture or pressure from higher-ups? You aren't alone. Numerous studies show that work is easily the top source of stress for American adults. While dead-end, low-paying jobs are bound to fill people with stress, even dream jobs can become overwhelming. If you can, try to step back from your responsibilities, and do your best to leave work issues at the office. If you can't alter your work life, consider trying relaxation techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing. You should also make an effort to prioritize sleep, since this can drastically improve your ability to manage even the most stressful situations.

Our caring therapists can help you cope with life's greatest challenges. Contact us today!