Stress can be defined as the way your body reacts to changes that need a response or adjustment. Your body will react to changes of this nature with emotional, mental, and/or physical responses.
Stress is just another part of life. Quite a few of the things that occur around and to you, and even many things that you do yourself can put stress on the body. Stress can come from your thoughts, your body, and even from the environment.
Symptoms of Stress
Symptoms of stress can be physical or emotional. Some of these symptoms can be dealt with by relaxing and breathing deeply, while others might need a bit more than that. Here are some of the physical symptoms:
- Grinding teeth and a clenched jaw
- Low energy levels
- Difficulty swallowing and a dry mouth
- Headaches – can be helped with headache medicine, like Motrin, Tylenol, or Aleve.
- Excess sweating – can be helped with some of the towelettes by SweatBlock. These reduce sweating for 4 – 7 days.
- Upset stomach that can include nausea, constipation, and diarrhea.
- Sweaty or cold feet and hands
- Tense muscles, aches, and pains
- Ringing in the ear, shaking, nervousness
- Rapid heartbeat and chest pain
- Loss of sexual ability and/or desire
- Not being able to sleep
- Frequent infections and colds
Some of the emotional symptoms can include:
- Avoiding others
- Becoming easily moody, agitated, and frustrated
- Feeling depressed, worthless, lonely, and generally bad about yourself
- Feeling like you are overwhelmed or out of control
- Having difficulty quieting your mind and relaxing
Some of the cognitive symptoms can include:
- Seeing only the negative side of things or being pessimistic
- Worrying constantly
- Lack of good judgment
- Racing thoughts
- Not being able to focus
- Disorganization and forgetfulness
Behavioral symptoms of stress can include:
- Exhibiting nervous behavior, like pacing, fidgeting, and nail biting
- Changes in your appetite – either eating more than usual or less than usual
- An increase in the use of things like cigarettes, drugs, and/or alcohol
- Avoiding your responsibilities or procrastinating
Stress and Its Effect on Health
Our bodies have been designed so that they not only experience stress, but they also react to it. Reacting to stress can keep you ready to avoid any sort of danger, and keeps you alert. Stress can become a negative thing when people face continuous without any relief or any time for relaxation between those challenges. The result of this can be the building of stress-related tension and the person becoming overworked.
When someone experiences stress that is continuous and unrelieved, it can lead to what is known as distress, which is a negative reaction to stress. This distress can then lead to other physical issues that can include chest pain, high blood pressure, upset stomach, headaches, and more. Stress has also been known to worsen or even bring on symptoms of certain diseases.
Additionally, stress can become even more harmful when people turn to things like drugs, tobacco, and/or alcohol in an effort to relive the stress they are feeling. These things don’t relieve stress and return a body to its normally relaxed state. Instead, they tend to ensure that the body stays in that state and leads to even more issues.
Consequences of Long-Term Stress
Everyone experiences a bit of stress now and then, and that is normal. That type of stress shouldn’t concern you at all. Chronic, or long-term stress though, can lead to or even exacerbate serious health-related issues like:
- Sexual dysfunction or a complete loss of sexual desire in both women and men. This might also include things like premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction in men.
- Mental health issues, such as personality disorders, anxiety, and depression
- Obesity and other types of eating disorders
- Gastrointestinal issues that can include IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), gastritis, and indigestion
- Cardiovascular diseases that can include strokes, heart attacks, abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, and heart disease
- Menstrual issues
- Issues with the hair and skin, like hair loss, eczema, psoriasis, and acne
Stress Management and Food
There are quite a few things that can only add to the stress we deal with on a daily basis. There are also quite a few things that we can do in an effort to avoid that stress. People might not realize that one of those things that can help with our stress is the food that we put into our bodies. The thing is, reaching for that comfort food, or unhealthy foods, won’t help in the fight against stress. On the other hand, some foods might actually have natural properties that tend to make you more able to fight off that stress.
Foods can help to fight stress in a few ways. For example, one food that is rich in complex carbs is warm porridge. This particular food can boost your levels of serotonin, which is a calming chemical in the brain. Other nutritional foods can reduce your levels of adrenaline and cortisol, which are both stress hormones that tend to take a negative effect on your body over time. A diet that is nutritious can actually counteract stress’s impact on the body because it will shore up your immune system while also assisting to keep your blood pressure at a level that is healthy.
Stress Help is Available
Stress is a normal part of everyone’s life. What actually matters is the way in which you handle that stress. The very best thing that you can do in order to prevent an overload of stress and those health issues that go hand in hand with it is to know the symptoms of stress and to manage it.
If someone you know, or you yourself, is feeling like the stress is overwhelming, you need to find medical advice. Many of stress’s symptoms can be signs of other issues with health as well. A doctor can take a look at your symptoms while ruling out any other possible health issues. A doctor can also give you tips on managing those stress levels.