Have you ever felt stressed? If the answer is “no,” don’t worry, you’ll feel it soon. Stress is something that affects us all—so much so that there’s even a whole month dedicated to educating people about how dangerous it can be. Stress awareness month is finally here, and because stress is so common, learning about how to manage the stress in your life is immensely important.

Effects on Your Body

Tuning into your body and paying attention to the physical effects of stress is something you should do not only during stress awareness month but also year-round. Some typical signs of stress wreaking havoc on your body are headaches, sleeping problems, chest and muscle pain, fatigue, having an upset stomach, and many more.

Because your brain is what releases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, this can negatively affect your body if you experience stress chronically. The constant release of these hormones can raise your blood pressure so high that it can put you at risk of heart disease, which is why monitoring and managing your stress is necessary.

 

Shot of a young businessman experiencing stress during late night at work
Shot of a young businessman experiencing stress during late night at work

 

Effects in Your Behavior

Other ways your body can reflect when you’re feeling too stressed out is through behavioral changes you might not notice right off the bat. When humans are stressed out, they tend to look for things that provide immediate pleasure, such as alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. The danger with this is that if you experience stress over a long time and repeatedly use these substances to make yourself feel better, you can develop a dependency on them and become addicted.

Your eating habits can also drastically change, so if you have been eating too little or overeating because you feel stressed out, this is a sign that you are feeling too much “bad stress.” Your body has both “good stress” (eustress) and “bad stress” (distress). While eustress is a temporary hormonal stress release that motivates you to get things done and accomplish tasks, distress is a chronic state of hormonal stress release for almost all situations in your life, even ones that shouldn’t be that stressful. Because of this distress, you might be experiencing, it can also manifest itself into outbursts of anger or social withdrawal, which can deteriorate your relationships with family and friends. Now that it’s stress awareness month don’t be afraid to express your stress problems with the people closest to you. Having strong relationships with people who support you and can remind you not to bite off more than you can chew is key to reducing stress.

Effects in Your MoodIf behavioral and bodily symptoms weren’t enough, stress could even affect your mood. Feeling anxious, overwhelmed, restless, angry or sad are prevalent signs of chronic stress. These feelings can cause you to lose focus and motivation on your tasks, thus causing you not to accomplish things and feel stressed out all over again. Because the mind is so powerful, your mood and mentality can perpetuate the cycle of chronic stress and then show itself in those bodily and behavioral symptoms.

What You Can Do

The good news about stress is that you can do something about it and effectively manage your stress so that you have more of the good and less of the bad. Helpful stress management strategies include setting time aside for hobbies like crafts, reading, journaling, listening to music, or playing an instrument. One of the significant causes of stress is overworking yourself and putting too many responsibilities on your plate, so taking time off to relax and unwind is vital.

Relaxation methods you can do are yoga, getting a massage, meditation, and deep breathing exercises. Speaking of exercise, it’s imperative to try to get plenty of sleep, eat a well-balanced diet, and exercise regularly. Try to also set aside days for spending time with your loved ones, and remember to keep a sense of humor. Laughing often can genuinely make your body feel better, and although it’s easier said than done, try to keep a positive attitude and spend time with people who make you laugh and smile.

Here at Fox Medical Centers, we want to help you with whatever ailment you have, even if it’s something like stress, which has various types of symptoms. If you are experiencing severe symptoms of chronic stress such as heart problems, headaches, insomnia, fatigue, or any other issues, feel free to give us a call to schedule an appointment with our experienced medical professionals.



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