Because stress is so common, you might think that unless you can’t physically move when you wake in the morning, you’re probably fine. But stress has a way of creeping up on you, and it's not just a mental or emotional issue; stress symptoms can impact the body in some very physical ways too.
Learning the signs and symptoms of stress can help us become more aware of the problems stress can cause in our daily lives. When you are stressed, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline which gets the body ready for emergency action. Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. Obviously, sometimes stress can be good and we certainly need some of it in our lives, but it can also stop being helpful and can start causing major damage to your mind and body.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of stress:
Tension headaches are one of the most common forms of headaches. Usually caused by tense muscles in the neck and scalp.
Tip: Staying hydrated will help. Take a break from work: walk around the block, go out for lunch. If you are a big coffee drinker, going cold-turkey can bring on withdrawal headaches. Cut back gradually rather than suddenly.
- Trouble sleeping
If you are suffering from stress, chances are you won’t be getting a good night’s sleep. You’re stressed so you can’t sleep, and then you’re even more stressed the next day because you didn’t get enough of it.
Tip: Wind down before bed time. I talk about the importance of a good night’s sleep a lot, here’s how to get into a good routine.
- Lowered libido
Stress messes up our hormones and some people lose interest in sex altogether when they’re stressed out.
Tip: Work out. Whether it’s a gym session, a walk or whatever you like, exercise can often help. Your general health directly effects your libido so keeping anxiety at bay and eating healthy should really help too.
- Poor gut health
The gut is called the little brain; it's the largest area of nerves outside the brain so no wonder it reacts when we are stressed out. Our bowel movements can actually tell us a lot about our overall health. If you continually suffer from an upset stomach, diarrhoea, constipation or nausea then there’s possibly an issue with your diet.
Tip: Make small changes to see if anything changes. Plan your meals ahead so you aren’t opting for anything unhealthy. Try cut back on sugary or processed foods. This is very weird, but I encourage clients to talk about what their poop is like because it’s a direct indication of whether your system is working optimally or not.
Finally, I can’t recommend some 'me time' in the form of meditation enough. I’ve been making time for this a few times a week and must say it has helped me relax and focus. Definitely worth a try.
If you are stressed, then identify the cause and try to rectify that. Otherwise, tips like these are only a band-aid over a bigger problem. Life is too short for us to grin and bear something long-term. I hope these pointers help in the meantime.
Until next time…
Metabolic Fitness Trainer