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10 Tell-Tale Signs of Stress

As we try to handle myriad responsibilities during the day, it’s easy to dismiss stress as a temporary visitor. Chronic exposure to stress can trigger significant physiological changes, escalating into serious health issues like digestive problems or heart disease. 

Recognizing physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms of stress and learning to manage them effectively aren’t just self-care techniques – they’re critical survival skills for the modern world. The following explores ten signs of stress and strategies to cope with it.

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10 Telltale Signs of Stress

Stress affects your body in many ways. It triggers a so-called fight-or-flight response, the natural body’s reaction to a threat. When faced with stressful situations, your body secretes stress hormones, which further trigger adrenaline secretion and symptoms like high blood pressure, fast heart rate, blushing, etc.

Acute stress response is a natural mechanism of defense that prepares us to act and avoid danger. But if your body activates the fight-or-flight mechanism every day, it’s a clear sign you’re under too much stress. Then, you might feel a host of physical and emotional symptoms that just wear you out.

1. Difficulty Sleeping

One of the first and most common stress symptoms is sleep problems. If you find that your mind is racing just as you’re trying to drift off, or if you’re waking up repeatedly throughout the night, it’s a sign that stress disturbs your sleep cycle. 

It’s a cause-and-effect relationship since chronic sleep deprivation can further worsen stress by making you feel more drained and less capable.

2. Frequent Headaches

Stress can trigger tension headaches. It’s a distinctive headache that creates a band-like pressure around the temples, leading to constant, dull-aching pain. If you’re experiencing this pain frequently and it’s not linked to another health issue, consider whether stress could be the trigger.

3. Change in Sex Drive

Daily stress can also affect your sex life. That can manifest as a lack of sexual desire, arousal, or satisfaction. It’s essential to recognize these changes and address any underlying stress triggers, as ignoring them can lead to relationship difficulties and further anxiety.

4. Overeating or Undereating

Stress often plays a significant role in your eating habits, leading to appetite disturbance. Stress-induced overeating typically leads to the consumption of high-sugar, high-fat comfort foods that just pound up. Conversely, for some individuals, stress can suppress appetite or make food seem unappealing.

5. Difficulty Concentrating  

If you find your attention wandering or have trouble focusing on tasks at hand, it could be a sign that stress is affecting your cognitive function. You might also experience memory problems or find it harder to make decisions.

6. Mood Swings

Stress might make you feel emotional and irritable or even cause you to have sudden bursts of anger or bouts of anxiety. If you’re noticing more frequent or extreme mood swings without other obvious causes, it could be a sign of chronic stress.

7. Lack of Energy

Feeling constantly tired or lacking energy – even after a good night’s sleep – can be a sign of stress. You’re not in the mood for going out, hanging with your friends, or even going to work, feeling lethargic and irritable by everything around you. 

It’s okay to have bad days from time to time. But if these are your daily thoughts, you’re stressed out pretty much. 

8. Frequent Colds and Infections

Chronic stress weakens the immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and other infections. If you’re getting sick more often, it’s essential to consider if stress could be compromising your immune health.

9. Body Aches and Pain

Stress often leads to physical symptoms like muscle tension, resulting in unexplained aches and pains throughout your body. You might notice tightness in your neck and shoulders, back and chest pain, or even feel like your whole body is aching.

10. Unhealthy Behaviors

When stressed out, some people tend to drink alcohol or take drugs thinking these will solve their problem. These substances provide short-term comfort, and in no way solve the emotional, business, or financial problem that’s the cause of your stress. 

But as alcohol and opiates alter your mind and can give you a false image, you’ll consume them more often to escape from reality, and this creates a real risk of addiction.

Effective Stress Management Techniques

Recognizing these symptoms is the first step. The next is learning how to manage them. Here are several techniques you can practice daily:

Maintain a balanced diet: Eating a healthy, nutritious diet is imperative. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and avocados, can help reduce stress levels. 

Stay physically active: Regular physical activity, even something as simple as a daily walk, can help lower stress levels, boost your mood, and improve sleep. You might also want to try breathwork, as a meditation form that can help you win out the excessive stress.

Practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques: Activities such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation can help you stay calm and reduce stress.

Get enough sleep: Ensure you get an adequate number of sleep hours each night. Good sleep helps restore your body and mind, aiding in overall stress management.

Stay connected: Reach out to loved ones or a professional for emotional support when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Social interactions can be a potent stress reliever.

Practice self-care: People have different methods to relieve stress, and you have to find what works for you. It can be spending time in nature, reading, a hot bath with CBD bath bombs, or a massage.

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In Conclusion 

Recognizing the stress signs and understanding how to deal with them is vital for your overall well-being. Don’t be hesitant to seek help for managing stress when you feel overwhelmed. Prevention is as much a part of health care as cure. Remember, dealing with stress is a life skill that needs constant fine-tuning.

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About the Writer

Kehlia D.

Kehlia is a freelance writer with degrees in Chemistry, Plant Science and Agricultural Technology and focusing on cannabinoid science. Her studies and research have taken her to three continents and she is currently digital nomading in Israel while studying the CBD industry based there.

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