Are you suffering from stress? Everyone has moments of stress from time to time, such as when you’re stuck in traffic, or you have a hard day at the office. For some people, stress can also become a serious issue.
Expose yourself to too much chronic stress and you’re putting yourself at significant risk of a range of health challenges. In fact, experts say that stress is directly connected to many of the main causes of premature death.
The good news is that there are various ways you can begin to cut down on stress, from exercising to changing your routine.
However, before you get started, it’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms of stress.
Be aware of the red flags
1. Tooth or jaw pain. Yes, stress does affect your teeth, more than you might think. If you’ve noticed soreness in your jaw or pain in your gums, then it might be because you’re dealing with feelings of stress.
● Grinding your teeth is often something that you may not even realise you’ve been doing until you get to the dentist, who reports to you the signs of bruxism.
● If you do notice signs of discomfort in your jaw, check with your dentist to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to protect your teeth.
2. Your memory is getting worse. As your schedule becomes more overwhelming and you end up with more things to think about each day, it’s easy to brush off issues due to forgetfulness. However, if your memory is really letting you down lately, it could be because of stress.
● When you’re putting your brain under too much pressure, you also expose the organ to a lot of extra work. This means that you end up feeling worn out a lot faster.
● Paying attention to where you lose track of your train of thought, could show you where you have too much on your plate. It might be time to slow down.
3. Your digestion isn’t right. Digestive health and stress are closely connected. You might have noticed during stressful periods in the past, that you tend to have challenges with heartburn, diarrhoea or constipation. These are all common gastrointestinal symptoms of stress.
● Your stomach will often churn and feel uncomfortable when you’re stressed, as feelings of anxiety cause the body to produce additional digestive acid.
● These feelings can also mean that you don’t empty food from your stomach as quickly as you should, this can lead to cramping, excess gas and bloating.
4. You’re always thirsty. If you’re constantly suffering from a major thirst, it’s worth speaking to a doctor. Excessive thirst can be a sign of things, like diabetes. However, you could also be dehydrated because of stress.
● Stress causes your body to pump out extra hormones from your adrenal glands. Those glands are also responsible for the hormones that regulate the fluid levels in your body, as well as electrolytes.
● If your adrenal glands are overworked, then the body might feel like it needs more hydration when it really doesn’t. Although upping your water intake shouldn’t cause any problems, it’s still a sign of a long-term problem that’s important to rectify.
5. Your muscles are sore. Sore muscles often happen as a result of tension. If you’re under a lot of stress, your body responds by involuntarily tensing up. This can gradually lead to more body pain over time, as your muscles aren’t used to being under that much strain.
● When your body is in fight or flight mode, this produces excess cortisol too, causing more tensing.
● The same way you suffer from soreness from grinding your teeth, you could experience soreness elsewhere in your body because you’re placing more pressure on your muscles. A good massage or a hot bath might help in the short term, but eventually, you’ll need to tackle stress at its source.
6. Your sleep is messed up. If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, it could be because stress is making it harder for you to relax.
● It’s likely that you spend a lot of time thinking about the things that worry you when you’re in bed. After all, there’s nothing else to take your mind off those worries.
● You might also notice that you’re having more odd dreams because of your stress.
● Conversely, some people experience a desire to sleep more often when they’re stressed.
● This could be an indication that you’re not just suffering from stress, but that you’re having issues with anxiety and depression too. Consider speaking to your doctor about these issues. They should be able to offer some personalised guidance.
As you can see, it’s critical to your health and wellbeing that you learn to relieve stress. Find self-care and relaxation activities that work for you and participate in these activities regularly. Make it a priority to take care of yourself by reducing your stress.