Stress isn’t just an annoyance—it’s a potential killer. Most people do not realize that stress can impact them negatively in many ways, both mentally and physically. If you are experiencing anxiety, it’s essential to take time to engage in stress relief through activities such as massage, mindfulness exercises, and other forms of self-care. The following guide will help you understand more about the many effects that stress can have on your body.
Stress can impact your body in some unusual ways. Learning to recognize these signs is the first step to taking control of your stress levels. Some of the most immediately recognizable ways that stress affects your body are through physical symptoms, which can include:
- Chest pain
- Libido changes
- Muscle tension
- Muscle pain
- Upset stomach
- Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping
- High blood pressure
These physical symptoms can be experienced for hours or sometimes even days, depending on the amount of stress you are experiencing. Stress relief, such as massage, can help reduce the severity of these types of symptoms.
Stress can also impact your body by causing you to experience specific emotional or mental symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Increased irritability
- Inability to focus
- Lack of drive or desire for everyday activities
Psychological symptoms can have a severe impact on your quality of life, especially if you experience them over an extended period. As with physical symptoms, managing your stress with forms of stress relief can help reduce their severity.
Over time, stress may even cause behavioral symptoms; these types of symptoms typically manifest as changes in your behavior. Behavioral symptoms can include:
- Withdrawal from regular social activity
- Using drugs or alcohol to cope
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Reducing self-care (such as no longer exercising)
- Experiencing emotional outbursts, especially towards others
- Overeating or undereating
More often than not, behavioral symptoms can exacerbate both physical and mental symptoms of experiencing too much stress. For instance, withdrawing from regular social activity can increase depressive thoughts. As with the other types of symptoms you may experience if you are too stressed, behavioral symptoms can be managed or reduced through regular stress relief.
What to Do if You Experience the Effects of Stress
If you are experiencing the adverse health effects caused by stress, then you need to take action. Since stress can cause everything from a bout of insomnia to increased blood pressure (which increases your risk of stroke and heart attack), you must manage your stress as much as possible. Stress relief can include many types of self-care, including:
- Engage in relaxation-based activities like yoga, meditation, & massages
- Set aside 30 minutes to 1 hour each day to do something you enjoy
- Learn how to disengage from stressful situations
The longer you wait to manage your stress, the harder it will be to keep it under control. If you are having trouble controlling the effects of stress on your body, make sure you talk with your physician.