The twenty-first-century lifestyle just got busier. With the constant pressure to maintain multiple income streams, keep your fingers on every hot trend, and the effects of the pandemic, the race towards fitting in keeps adding more hurdles. Being under stress now feels like a new normal. In fact, it is a badge of honor for many – to be able to heap up so many responsibilities and remain sane, somewhat. However, living under a lot of stress can be bad for your physical, mental, and emotional health. It is, therefore, essential to know all the signs of stress and how to manage them.
You may appear to be okay because you do not experience the regular signs that your body is under an untold amount of stress. However, there is a good chance that your body has been giving you more subtle signs that you keep missing. Some of those signs include:
If you have noticed an inexplicable ache in your jaw or teeth, you may be experiencing some amount of stress. The discomfort comes from grinding your teeth when you experience stress or frustration, a subconscious act we do even in our sleep.
When it is hard for you to focus on things or you keep forgetting important things, it is a sign that you are under a lot of stress. Paying attention to your train of thought or focus (or lack thereof) is an excellent way to determine if you have too much on your plate or not.
Stress can increase the production of digestive acids in the body, causing heartburn. It can also slow down the rate with which food leaves the stomach, causing bloating, constipation, and gas. Additionally, it can increase the rate at which the colon contracts, leading to diarrhea and cramps.
When you find yourself making several trips to the water cooler in short intervals, even when the weather is cold, it could be one of the signs of stress that you have been missing.
During stress, the adrenal glands produce the stress hormones, cortisol, and adrenaline, for the fight or flight response. The adrenal glands also produce the hormone, aldosterone, which helps to regulate the levels of fluid and electrolytes in the body.
As the adrenal glands get overworked and fatigued, the production of aldosterone drops, causing low electrolyte levels and dehydration in the body.
In response to the fight or flight mode, the muscles involuntarily tense up under stress. Under constant stress, the muscles remain sore and tense. When you begin to notice inexplicable body pains like back and neck aches, it could be a sign that you are under a lot of stress.
It is normal to shed hair daily – it is part of the process of hair growth. But if you notice more hair loss than what you’re used to, it could indicate stress. Stress can cause hair loss in either of three ways.
One, it can cause the hair follicle to fall out prematurely before it completes a full growth cycle, causing excessive shedding. It can also induce alopecia areata, a condition where the immune system attacks the hair follicles and cause them to fall out. It can also lead to trichotillomania, a disorder where the person keeps pulling out their own hair.
People have different ways to cope with stress. Some people unwind at the end of a long week or day with a glass of wine or cocktail. However, when you find yourself relying heavily on drugs, alcohol, or any other substance to relieve pressure, then you are heading into dangerous territory.
If you catch yourself doing this, it is a sign that you should reduce your pressure load and look for healthier means to cope with stress.