If you have a difficult job, are going through a tough time at home, it’s time to study for mid-terms or finals, or you have just about anything else going on in your life that is stressful, it can have an impact on your physical and emotional health. The symptoms you have may appear as an illness that you can take some pain relievers for you might need anti-biotics; however, if after taking something to try to relieve the issue, it doesn’t go away, there may be an underlying issue. That issue might be stress.
Stress affects your body in many ways and it affects each person very differently. It may even affect you differently each time you have a stressful event in your life. What are the symptoms of stress you should watch for?
Physical Symptoms of Stress
The first symptoms that appear in someone who is experiencing stress are usually headaches, muscle tension, and fatigue. If the stress continues, chest pain can set in that can either be a result of higher than normal blood pressure or can be a sign of acid reflux. If either of these go without treatment they can result in even more physical health problems. The stomach acid can result in an ulcer or the blood pressure can cause damage to the heart and even heart disease. Sleep problems can develop quickly with stress. If you are unable to sleep at night with a lot on your mind, you may be tempted to take a nap during the day, and it results in irregular sleeping patterns.
Mood Disturbances as a Result of Stress
Most people report that when they are stressed they are not able to concentrate on what they need to do as well, which in turn, leads to becoming more stressed. It’s very easy to become overwhelmed by even the smallest thing, such as receiving a cold meal at a restaurant, because you have so many other things on your plate. Anxiety and depression are two very common symptoms of stress, and they lead to many of the physical symptoms of stress that most people end up seeing a doctor for. However, the underlying cause of the physical symptom may not be seen. Being angry or irritable is not uncommon if you are feeling stressed.
Behavior Changes Because of Stress
If you notice that you have changed your behavior lately and you don’t know why, but you know you are stressed, that stress very well may be the reason why. Taking up smoking, or starting to abuse alcohol or even illegal drugs has been linked to people in high-stress situations, although that is not always the direct cause. Many people who are stressed change their eating habits. They may overeat or underreact. Either can lead to gaining or losing weight in any person as stress also changes the hormone levels in the body that trigger weight gain and loss despite food intake. People that suddenly withdraw from friends, especially ones they have been close to for a long time, and other social activities that they used to participate in regularly, are usually responding negatively to stress.
How Do You Manage the Symptoms of Stress?
Most of the time we cannot change our situations or what is going on around us to be in less stressful situations. However, it is important to manage stress well so that the negative effects of stress do not overwhelm you. Physical activity, especially participating in a regular exercise regimen, is very beneficial. Exercising releases endorphins, which is the body’s natural “feel good” drug. There are many relaxation techniques that you can learn, from meditation and deep breathing exercises to yoga.
Forcing yourself to participate in those social events you used to go to and to see your friends regularly will go a long way to making sure you are less stressed, even if you don’t feel like going before you leave the house. Take part in hobbies to have a sense of accomplishment and also to give you something that you enjoy to relax with. It can be a craft like scrapbooking or knitting or it can be playing video games. Whatever your hobby, you can choose to do with a group or solo. And even if it’s difficult, be sure to keep a positive attitude about life. A sense of humor goes a long way as well.
If you have attempted to reduce your symptoms of stress on your own and they still haven’t gone away, you may want to make an appointment with your doctor. They will make sure there is no physical reason for the way you feel and then most likely refer you to a therapist who can help you find new ways to help cope with stress.
Stress effects can be difficult to live with but once you realize that they can be managed effectively, you can lead a much healthier life.