Stress affects us all. It may be mild for one person and severe for another. Its impact is so strong that long-term stress can have serious consequences on our physical, mental and emotional health. However, identifying stressors in your life can help reduce their harmful effects. Know the signs and symptoms of stress to manage it better and lead a healthier, happier life.
On the occasion of World Mental Health Day 2023, Health Shots connects with Dr Manjusha Agarwal, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Global Hospitals, Parel Mumbai, to find out how to identify stress.
Common symptoms of stress
Here are 8 common signs and symptoms of stress you should be aware of:
If you notice an increase in headaches and migraine episodes, know that this is one of the most obvious signs of stress, says Dr. Agarwal. Migraine patients report significant levels of stress, especially those with chronic stress, according to studies published by the National Library of Medicine. These headaches can range from mild discomfort to severe pain and can be a persistent problem. Try to get enough sleep and rest and stay hydrated to cope.
2. Sleep Problems
Stress and your sleep cycle are closely linked. This can harm your sleep quality, leading to insomnia or poor quality sleep. Stress can increase the risk of anxiety, negative thoughts and worries that can make it difficult to fall asleep. Stress and poor sleep quality can lead to mental and physical health problems. To improve your sleep cycle, go to bed on time, practice meditation before bed, and limit exposure to screens before bed.
Read also : World Mental Health Day: 5 daily habits to improve your mental health
No matter how well you take care of your skin, stress, especially chronic stress, can negatively affect it. It’s your body’s way of telling you that it’s overwhelmed and needs a break. When you are stressed, the body’s sympathetic nervous system releases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline into your body. These hormones increase the production of skin glands, leading to clogged pores and acne breakouts. Apart from this, stress strains your immune system, which increases skin problems. Follow a proper skin care routine, eat healthily, and practice meditation to reduce stress.
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4. Digestive problems
There is a strong connection between your gut and your brain, and stress can significantly affect your digestive system. Symptoms such as stomach upset, indigestion, diarrhea or constipation can be caused by high stress levels. To manage stress, stay hydrated, practice meditation, or get professional help if needed.
5. Mood swings
“Do you feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster? Stress has the power to turn even the calmest individual into an emotional wreck. If you cry without thinking, experience sudden mood swings, or feel overwhelmed with emotion, consider that these emotional outbursts may be coming from underlying stress,” says Dr. Agarwal. To manage your mood, follow a healthy workout routine, stay calm, and do whatever you want to stay relaxed.
6. High blood pressure
Chronic stress is a major contributor to heart health problems or high blood pressure. It triggers the body’s “fight or flight” response, causing an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. If your blood pressure is persistently high, consult your doctor for appropriate treatment. To avoid high blood pressure caused by stress, follow a regular exercise routine, eat healthily, and meditate.
“People have times when they forget things or have difficulty concentrating, but if this becomes a recurring problem it could be due to high stress levels. When the mind is preoccupied with worry and anxiety, it becomes more difficult to focus on the tasks at hand and retain information effectively,” says Dr. Agarwal.
8. Low libido
Stress can have a significant impact on your sexual health, often leading to a decreased libido. Stress causes hormonal imbalance, which can affect your mood and make you less interested in sex life. You might even feel less happy and have difficulty communicating with your partner. Open communication with your partner and stress reduction techniques can help resolve this problem and improve intimacy.
9. Aches and pains
Muscle tension and body pain are physical symptoms of stress. You may feel pain, especially around your head, neck, shoulders and back. Regular exercise, stretching, and massage can help relieve these physical symptoms of stress.
10. Change in appetite
Stress can even cause changes in your appetite. Some people may overeat as a coping mechanism, leading to weight gain, while others may lose their appetite, leading to weight loss. Pay attention to your eating habits and make sure you don’t overeat or eat less. Follow a balanced diet to stabilize your stress level.
In addition to these symptoms of stress, you may also experience panic attacks, chest pain or a racing heart, feelings of guilt, helplessness or hopelessness, loneliness, restlessness, anger, a desire to cry, an inability to breathe, blurred vision. , or eye pain, low energy, and nausea. Dr. Agarwal says: “Remember, recognizing the signs of stress in our lives is crucial to maintaining our overall well-being. »