Do you feel overwhelmed and exhausted? Are your muscles tense and achy? If this sounds like you, then you may be experiencing the physical symptoms of stress. Stress can wreak havoc on our bodies, and it is important to learn how to address it before it causes long-term damage. In this blog post, we will discuss 10 common physical symptoms of stress and how to address them.
- 1 What Is Stress?
- 2 What Are The Physical Symptoms of Stress?
- 3 How to Address Stress-Related Physical Symptoms?
- 4 Conclusion
What Is Stress?
Before we get into the physical symptoms of stress, let’s first define what stress is. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines stress as “the body’s response to any demand placed on it.” In other words, when we perceive a threat, our bodies go into fight-or-flight mode. This triggers a release of stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline.
These hormones increase our heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure as they prepare our bodies to either run away from the perceived danger or stay and fight. Stress is considered a normal physiological response and can even be beneficial in some situations. For example, stress can help us to stay alert and focused when we need to perform well.
However, when we experience chronic or long-term stress, it can take a toll on our physical and mental health. In fact, many of the physical symptoms of stress are actually warning signs that our bodies are not coping well with the amount of stress we’re under. Now, let’s further explore the physical symptoms of stress.
What Are The Physical Symptoms of Stress?
There are a variety of physical symptoms of stress. And each can manifest in different ways for different people. The following are some of the most common physical symptoms of stress:
Headaches are a very common symptom of stress. They can range from mild to severe and can be caused by a variety of factors including muscle tension, eyestrain, and dehydration. Sometimes, headaches can further lead to migraines, which are even more debilitating. If you suffer from headaches, it’s important to stay hydrated and try to relax your muscles as much as possible.
One of the most common physical symptoms of stress is muscle tension. Muscle tension or pain is described as a feeling of tightness, stiffness, or achiness in the muscles. The neck, shoulders, and back are common areas where people experience muscle tension. For instance, you may feel a tightness in your muscles after a long day of work. Or, you may experience muscle tension when you’re dealing with a difficult situation.
When someone is under a lot of stress, their muscles tense up. This can cause chest pain, as the muscles in the chest and shoulders constrict. In fact, among the physical symptoms of stress, chest pain seems to be the most common. Because the pain is caused by muscle tension and not a heart condition, it is usually relieved by relaxation or massage.
Sometimes, fatigue is caused by dehydration or a lack of sleep. But if you’re drinking plenty of water and getting enough rest, it could be a sign that your body is overwhelmed by stress. For instance, if you can’t seem to get through your to-do list no matter how many coffees you drink, it might be time to take a step back and reassess your priorities.
An upset stomach seems common for many when they are stressed. It may manifest as diarrhea, constipation, nausea, or vomiting. However, the connection between stress and upset stomach might not be so simple. Some research suggests that stress can actually increase stomach acid production, which can lead to indigestion, heartburn, or ulcers. If you find yourself with an upset stomach when you’re stressed, you should seek help.
Increased heart rate
It is not uncommon for people to experience an increased heart rate when they are stressed. This is because the body is preparing itself for a “fight or flight” response. While this can be beneficial in some situations, it can also be detrimental if the person is not actually in danger. If you find that your heart rate increases when you are not exerting yourself, it may be a sign that you are experiencing stress.
This is one of the most common physical symptoms of stress. When we are stressed, our bodies go into “fight or flight” mode. This means that our digestive system slows down because it isn’t necessary for survival at this moment. This can lead to either overeating or undereating, and neither is good for our long-term health. Appetite changes can also be a symptom of other conditions, so if you are concerned, it is best to speak with a doctor.
Trembling or shaking
Stress can cause your body to shake or tremble, even when you’re trying to keep it still. This can be especially noticeable in your hands. For example, you may find yourself unable to hold a pen or use a fork without your hands shaking. Trembling and shaking usually occur when something triggers your “fight or flight” response. This is a natural survival mechanism that happens when you’re faced with a perceived threat.
Shortness of breath
It is believed that up to 70% of people with anxiety have shortness of breath at some point. While it may feel like you can’t catch your breath, it is important to remember that this is a physical symptom and not a sign that something is wrong with your lungs. Shortness of breath caused by stress is known as hyperventilation, which occurs when you take in more oxygen than your body needs. This can further cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- Numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
All in all, these are a few common physical symptoms of stress that you should be aware of. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek help from a medical professional. They will be able to help you find the best way to address your stress and get you on the road to recovery.
How to Address Stress-Related Physical Symptoms?
There are a number of things you can do to address stress-related physical symptoms. But the most important thing is to recognize when you’re feeling stressed and take steps to manage your stress. Here are some things you can do to deal with physical symptoms of stress:
Get regular exercise
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and improve your overall health. It can also help to reduce symptoms of stress-related conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Because exercise can be taxing on your body, it’s important to start slowly and build up gradually. This is especially true if you’re not used to being active. It helps to reduce the production of stress hormones in your body. A moderate amount of exercise is the key to reducing stress.
Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet can help your body cope with stress. Eating foods that are high in antioxidants, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can help reduce the harmful effects of stress on your body. More often, a healthy diet is linked with lower levels of stress and better overall health. For example, studies have shown that people who eat a diet rich in omega-three fatty acids (found in fish, nuts, and seeds) have lower levels of stress and anxiety.
Get enough sleep
This is easier said than done when you’re juggling a million things at once, but skimping on sleep will only make your stress worse. Aim for seven to eight hours per night, and if you can’t swing that, try to at least get a power nap in during the day. Because if you’re anything like me, being tired only makes everything feel a million times worse. You must prioritize your health and well-being, even if that means saying no to things or delegating tasks to others.
It is one of the most popular ways to ease stress and anxiety. The most common way to use aromatherapy is through diffusing essential oils. This can be done with a diffuser or by adding a few drops of oil to a cotton ball and placing it near you. Some people also like to apply essential oils topically, but you should always dilute them first. It helps in reducing the physical symptoms of stress like headaches and body aches.
In stress, the body’s natural energy, or qi, becomes unbalanced. Acupuncture helps to restore the flow of qi and promote relaxation. Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves the insertion of thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body. It is used to treat a variety of conditions, including pain, stress, and anxiety.
Acupuncture is believed to work by stimulating the nervous system and releasing chemicals in the body that help to reduce pain and stress. It is a safe and effective treatment for many people, but it is not suitable for everyone. If you are pregnant, have a heart condition, or are taking blood-thinning medication, you should not have acupuncture.
There are various benefits to massage therapy, including reducing stress. Massage can help to improve circulation, which in turn can help reduce tension headaches and muscle aches. It can also help to increase relaxation and reduce anxiety. If you are experiencing physical symptoms of stress, consider finding a qualified massage therapist in your area.
Similar to massage therapy, yoga can help to release tension in the body. It is a form of mindfulness that allows you to focus on your breath and movement, which can be very calming. There are many different types of yoga, so it is important to find one that is right for you. Some common styles include Hatha, Vinyasa, and Kundalini. If you are new to yoga, it is important to find a class that is suitable for your level.
It is often said that relaxation is the key to managing stress. This is easier said than done for many people, but there are a number of techniques that can be helpful in promoting relaxation. Some of these include:
- Deep breathing exercises
- Progressive muscle relaxation
Each person may find that one or more of these techniques works better for them. It is important to experiment to find what works best.
Talk to someone
This is important because it can help to have an outlet to discuss the things that are causing you stress. Talking to a therapist, friend, or family member can help you work through the emotions you’re feeling. More often than not, simply talking about what’s stressing you out can help to alleviate some of the pressure you’re feeling.
So, these are simple tips that you can do to help address some of the physical symptoms of stress. Remember, it’s important to find what works for you and to make self-care a priority. If you’re feeling especially overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.
To conclude, physical symptoms of stress are considered as important as mental symptoms. Stress can cause physical reactions such as headaches, upset stomach, chest pain, and more. These physical symptoms should not be ignored and one should take some time to relax and de-stress.
Taking some time out for yourself is important to manage stress levels. Try some relaxation techniques as this can help to clear your mind and ease muscle tension. If you are having trouble managing your stress, talk to your doctor or mental health professional. They can help you develop a plan to better manage your stress and improve your overall health.
For more tips and guidance, you can reach out to Therapy Mantra. The team of professional counselors is more than happy to help you in your journey to recovery. Contact us today to learn more about our services. You can also book an online therapy session or download our free Android or iOS app.