Ladies, stress affects everyone, but it affects some people more than others. Stress can lead to both acute and chronic diseases and can affect every aspect of our lifestyle, so how do you know if you are stressed out?.
Stress can be sneaky so, let’s explore 12 signs that may indicate you need a vacation.
- Do you have a hard time concentrating? When you are stressed out, your mind is trying to concentrate on a wide variety of things, not fully paying attention to any one of them. This makes it hard to concentrate on just one thing so you end up feeling distracted and confused. Stress can affect your concentration at work, so your productivity is slower and your ability to do a good job is less. Stress can make it difficult to concentrate on playtime activities, too. You end up thinking about all the obligations you have, thus spending less time on enjoying the free time you do have.
2. Is your sleep is disrupted? Stress can have you feel emotionally exhausted but physically unable to sleep. Stress causes an increase in epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol, making it difficult to go to sleep and stay asleep. If you don’t remember what those are or how they work in your body, go back and read our post on stress hormones 101. Your mind cannot rest enough to sleep, and your body is fighting sleep as well. Insomnia is a common result of stress. Stress can also have the opposite effect of too much sleeping, because you could be trying to avoid the stressors in your life and will may use sleep as a coping mechanism.
3. Do you emotionally eat? When you are under stress, you tend not to make time to make meals that are healthy for you. Instead, you eat whatever is in front of you or is easy to pick up and snack on. These tend to be foods high in salt and sugar and are generally highly processed foods that don’t provide you with the nutrition you need to fight off illnesses and keep your biological processes going well. Stress can contribute to mindless overeating of junk food or to skipping meals altogether because you have no time to sit down and eat the right kinds of food for your body.
4. Do you get sicker easier and more often? Stress increases the amount of cortisol in your body, which affects your ability to fight off infection. This means that you are likely to get more colds and flu and can’t fight them off as easily. Stress is a reason for chronic diseases as well, including high blood pressure, and diabetes. Norepinephrine and epinephrine are released as part of the fight or flight response and this can put excess pressure on your heart, and it can raise your pulse and blood pressure. These things contribute to getting heart disease after years of being under chronic stress.
5. You are depressed? Stress can lead to depression by affecting the neurotransmitter levels in your brain. Chronic stress can affect the way you think, and you will have less free time to enjoy your life. Chronic anxiety and chronic depression can creep into your life more when you are stressed and this make you even less able to cope with the everyday stressors of your life.
6. Do you get headaches often? Stress can cause tension in the muscles of the scalp and neck. This can result in tension or “muscle-contraction” headaches that make it difficult to get rest and that can contribute to concentration and memory difficulties. You can control headaches like this by reducing stress and by participating in natural stress-reduction techniques such as meditation and yoga.
7. Do you can have irregular period? You can develop abnormal menstrual cycles in which you don’t ovulate. This not only makes for irregular and close-together cycles but it can affect fertility. If you don’t ovulate, you can’t get pregnant. In addition, you can get heavier and more painful periods as a result of being under stress.
8. Do you get muscle tension? Stress causes your muscles to become tenser. This is a normal part of the fight or flight response, but over time it can lead to chronic muscle tension that makes you have aches and pains on a daily basis. If you reduce stress through progressive muscle relaxation techniques, you can feel less achy and will feel more like moving around without pain.
Check out other ways to reduce stress with our latest tip sheet
- Do you carry extra belly fat? Your digestive system responds to stress by producing extra sugar from storage sites in the liver. This causes a rush of sugar to enter the bloodstream. Your pancreas fights to put this sugar somewhere and, if it doesn’t go to fat, it ends up keeping your blood sugar up. There is a scientific connection between stress and the development of insulin resistance, which is the basis behind getting type 2 diabetes.
10. Do you have digestive issues? Stress shunts blood away from the vital organs, such as the digestive system so that you can’t digest food as well as you normally would. This leads to poor digestion, stomach upset, diarrhea, and possibly constipation. Stress is related to irritable bowel syndrome, which involves cramping of the bowels and changes in bowel habits. Irritable bowel suffers do better when they are under less stress.
11. Do you suffer from respiratory issues? Stress causes shallow, rapid breathing and people who have COPD or asthma have more problems breathing when they are under stress.
12. Do you suffer from anxiety? Stress is a state of anxiety that doesn’t go away. People who live under chronic stress are more prone to anxious states, panic attacks, and other anxiety symptoms that can interfere with quality of life.
There you have it, 12 signs you may be stressed out. Like I said, we all have stress and it isn’t so much the stress itself that hurts your health as much as it is what you do, or should I say don’t do to handle it.