Are You Stressed? Know the Signs

Shopify API March 30, 2023 No Comments
 Most Americans experience some sort of stress every day, and overlooking ongoing stress can negatively impact your health. Can you relate to these signs and symptoms?
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April 2023. This article is independently written by Shelby Golding. All opinions given are hers. Shelby has been certified as a personal trainer and nutritional specialist since 2007. In 2008, she found her passion for writing about these topics and hasn't looked back.
 a person sits and holds their head on a sofa

People of all ages, identities, and backgrounds experience stress. According to the American Psychological Association, nearly 80% of Americans report going through some stress daily.

While a bit of stress is normal and can even be beneficial in certain situations, chronic stress can negatively affect a person's mental and physical health. In this article, we'll explore the signs of stress and discuss strategies for managing it.

7 Physical Signs You're Way More Stressed Than You Realize

Stress impacts your emotions, behavior, and thinking abilities and can take a toll on your body, leading to a range of physical symptoms. Seven of the most common physical symptoms of stress include:

  • Headaches: Frequent headaches, especially tension headaches, can signify stress.
  • Muscle tension: Stress can cause muscle tension, leading to pain and discomfort.
  • Fatigue: Feeling constantly tired, even after enough sleep, can indicate chronic stress.
  • Digestive issues: Stress can cause or worsen digestive problems like stomach pain, diarrhea, and constipation.
  • Decreased libido: Your body releases stress hormones when you're stressed, creating an imbalance in the body and ultimately leading to loss of libido.
  • Changes in appetite: Stress can cause changes in appetite, leading to overeating or undereating.
  • Skin problems: Stress is the culprit behind many types of skin problems, like acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

Short-Term Stress Symptoms

Short-term stress is a normal response to challenging situations and can be beneficial by boosting our performance. When you experience short-term stress, your body releases stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which can cause high blood pressure and an increased heart rate while giving you a burst of energy.

Here are some common physical and mental sensations during short-term stress:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Muscle tension
  • Shortness of breath

Short-Term Stress: Common Emotional and Cognitive Symptoms

Short-term stress can also affect your emotional and cognitive functioning. Here are some of the most common emotional and cognitive symptoms of short-term stress:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Racing thoughts
  • Negative thinking
  • Mood swings

Long-Term Stress Symptoms

Long-term stress refers to prolonged exposure to stressful situations, and it can significantly impact both the mind and body. Like short-term stress, a natural and temporary response to a perceived threat or unfortunate situation, chronic stress can cause physical and emotional symptoms. These symptoms may include:

  • Persistent headaches
  • Muscle tension
  • Fatigue
  • Digestive problems

Additionally, long-term stress can increase the risk of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, weakened immune system, cognitive decline, anxiety, depression, and issues with personal and professional relationships.

Are You Stressed, or Is It Something Else? (And When to See Your Doctor)

Stress can cause a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms, making it difficult to distinguish between stress-related symptoms and those that may indicate a more serious medical condition. However, if you’re experiencing symptoms that you think may be related to stress, there are several things you can do to determine their cause.

The first step is to assess the nature and duration of your symptoms. Stress-related symptoms are typically temporary and may improve with relaxation techniques or changes in lifestyle habits. But if your symptoms persist or worsen over time or you develop new symptoms, seeking medical advice to rule out any underlying medical conditions is essential.

Don't ignore the red flags! Sudden and intense symptoms like chest pain or gasping for air could be more than just stress – they may signal a heart attack or another life-threatening condition. So act fast and get medical help immediately if you notice these alarming signs.

How Stress Works: The Body's Fight-or-Flight Response

Stress triggers the body's natural and automatic fight-or-flight response (the stress response). It starts with your brain's amygdala, which acts as the watchtower, swiftly signaling your sympathetic nervous system. From there, your body gets a surge of powerful stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol to ensure you're equipped to face danger. As a result, your heart races, your senses sharpen, and your body redirects energy from digestion to vital organs.

Although the fight-or-flight response is beneficial in the short term, chronic stress can negatively affect physical and mental health, including an increased risk of heart disease and depression. But effective stress management techniques like meditation, exercise, and counseling can help reduce stress and avoid negative consequences.

By proactively managing stress, individuals can improve their well-being and lead healthier, happier lives.

Signs and Symptoms of Stress Overload

Rain on window

Stress overload (too much stress), also known as burnout, can manifest in many ways. Here are some common signs of stress overload.

Physical symptoms:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Frequent headaches
  • Muscle tension
  • Chest pain
  • Stomach problems
  • Insomnia
  • Changes in appetite

Emotional symptoms:

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Irritable
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Excessive worry

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Avoiding responsibilities
  • Social withdrawal
  • Procrastination
  • Substance abuse
  • Neglecting self-care

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Negative self-talk

Interpersonal symptoms:

  • Conflicts with others
  • Reduced empathy
  • Isolation

How Long Does Stress Last?

The duration of stress depends on the individual's ability to manage it effectively. In addition, stress can be short-term or long-term. Short-term stress can last a few minutes or hours, while long-term stress can last for weeks, months, or even years if not managed.

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of constant stress and seeking appropriate help to manage stress effectively is crucial. Properly handling stress and treatment can mitigate its effects, and individuals can lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

Is It Stress or Anxiety? How to Tell the Difference

Stress and anxiety share many symptoms, such as irritability, difficulty sleeping, and lack of focus. However, stress is usually a response to a specific event, whereas anxiety often has no identifiable trigger.

Anxiety is also more likely to interfere with daily activities, while stress is usually more manageable. While stress is a normal response to a challenging situation, anxiety may require professional treatment, such as therapy or medication.

Top 10 Stressful Life Events

Life is full of challenges, and stress makes it quite a rollercoaster. Researchers have identified various life events that can be particularly stressful for individuals, aka "stressful life events" or "major life events."

These events can lead to significant changes in an individual's life, both physically and emotionally, and can impact their mental health and well-being. They include:

  1. Death of a loved one
  2. Divorce or separation
  3. Personal injury or illness
  4. Marriage or starting a new relationship
  5. Pregnancy or having a child
  6. Moving or changing residences
  7. Losing or changing jobs
  8. Financial difficulties
  9. Legal problems or incarceration
  10. Conflict in personal relationships or with colleagues

What Are Some Ways to Prevent Stress?

Preventing stress involves taking proactive steps to manage potential stressors and adopting healthy habits that can help reduce stress. Here are some ways to avoid stress:

  • Identify and manage stress triggers
  • Practice relaxation techniques
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get enough sleep
  • Practice good time management
  • Seek social support
  • Take breaks and practice self-care

By adopting healthy habits and managing potential stressors, individuals can help prevent stress and improve overall well-being.
Stress is a common and natural response to challenging situations, but it can negatively affect physical and mental health if not managed properly. There are various strategies individuals can exercise to prevent and manage stress, including lifestyle changes, mindfulness practices, and seeking professional help if necessary. Here are some ideas:

  • Try to accept things you cannot change instead of worrying about them.
  • Start saying "no" to additional responsibilities when you’re too stressed or busy.
  • Spend time with people who help you feel happy, calm, and supported and those who help you when you need it.

Individuals can improve their overall well-being and quality of life by prioritizing self-care and developing effective stress management techniques.

Don’t Overlook Pain Management

Taking care of your mind and body can help alleviate symptoms, whether you’ve dealt with chronic stress for years or you’ve just recently started noticing the signs of stress. For example, chronic pain can create background stress, making life’s many hurdles harder to manage. But pain management can help.

If you think pain might be contributing to your stress levels, the Kailo Pain Patch can help. It’s easy to apply, you can wear it all day, and it’s designed to relieve pain in seconds (without oral medication). In a recent clinical study, 99% of patients reported experiencing pain relief within 10 minutes of using the Kailo pain patch.

Disclaimer: Kailo should not be used if you have a pacemaker or are pregnant. Always consult your doctor or health care professional before using Kailo.


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