Stress is one of those plagues that we’ll never escape from in life. Whether a small annoyance such as a unplanned detour in our day, or a large disruption, such as a financial or major health issue, we’ll always experience something that upsets and worries us.
The trouble with stress is that it brings on manifestations that may signal ill health. So while you’re thinking that your symptoms indicate disease, the problem could very well be due to “mere” stress, and you may not even realize it.
Stress can impact your body, mind, emotions, and even behavior. By being able to recognize the symptoms and better manage your stress levels, you will in turn improve your health.
Here are 5 symptoms you may not realize are stress related:
- Headache: You may not connect your headache with stress, especially if you’re stressed out often. Your body is taking the tension and trying to release it, but instead holding onto it, resulting in headaches that may be sharp pains or dull aches that come and go, or even make you feel that your head is in a vice. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga are good ways to calm yourself down and gain clarity around most issues.
- Muscle tension/pain: When we’re stressed, we tend to tighten our muscles involuntarily. The body is on high alert and trying to protect us, but the result is muscle fatigue and pain from the constant tension. Physical activity is a great way to lower our stress levels. This helps to increase the production of endorphins, which are the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters.
- Chest pain: Many people rush to the hospital thinking they’re having a heart attack, only to find out that the problem is a panic attack. The body can react to stress in many ways. Sometimes when we’re stressed for a long period of time, or even highly stressed for a short time, the body will mimic a heart attack when it is in panic mode. **PLEASE do always seek medical attention for any type of chest pain, though. Heart attacks, especially in women, show up in different ways, including ones not always obvious.
- Fatigue: Stress causes fatigue for a number of reasons. One of those is that our sleep may be poor when we’re stressed out. Another is that our body and mind are on high alert to such an extent that the effort wears down our physical resources, and we just need a break. Fatigue is our body’s way of telling us to slow down and rest. And if we don’t, we will often end up without a choice when we become too sick to keep on going. One way to avoid coming to such a pass is to set aside time for some favorite hobbies. By doing something active that we enjoy, such as reading, drawing, coloring, etc., we’ll be able to let go and focus on something other than the area of stress.
- Stomach upset: Stress can cause digestive issues, including nausea, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Spending time with loved ones and having fun will again switch the center of attention and may even allow others to contribute an outside perspective that might help.
My area of expertise, developed over decades, is in supporting my patients and helping them find the root problem causing the symptoms they’re experiencing. I then help patients to calm both body and mind, and come up with solutions to issues. I would love to help you, personally, on your journey to remaining calmer, lowering your stress levels, and being healthier and happier.
Bonus…when you master this for yourself, you can share what you did with your family and friends so they can reap those benefits as well.