Stress can have an effect on us all. You might feel stress when you have a heavy workload, when dealing with kids misbehaving, or if you are going through a challenging time in your relationship. Stress is everywhere – and a small amount of stress is OK, as it can actually be beneficial to keep you motivated.
However, being under too much stress can wear you down both mentally and physically, leading to different conditions such as anxiety and a whole range of physical symptoms. The first step to controlling your stress levels is to understand the symptoms. But, since a lot of us are so used to being stressed, recognizing these symptoms can be difficult and a lot of the time, people don’t realize that they are stressed until they have reached the breaking point of chronic stress.
When you are under a large amount of stress, your body may begin to shut down. Stress is the body’s natural reaction to harmful situations, and when you feel threatened a chemical reaction occurs in the body which allows you to act in a way that prevents injury. Your heart rate and blood pressure increases, your breathing quickens, and muscles tighten. If you are suffering from chronic stress, too much of this reaction will start to wear out and tire your body.
There are many different types of headaches, all of which can be brought on by stress. Headaches cause pain, and many can come with a range of other unwanted symptoms such as vomiting and nausea. A tension headache is the most common type of headache which can be caused by stress and anxiety. These headaches usually last for around half an hour and can generally be treated with over-the-counter painkillers. However, if you begin to experience tension headaches more frequently and for longer periods of time, it’s a tell-tale sign of chronic stress.
You may be surprised that varicose veins are also a physical symptom of chronic stress. Chronic stress triggers an endocrine system response in which occurs a release of hormones known as corticosteroids. Since chronic stress is a prolonged emotional pressure suffered over a prolonged period of time, long-term exposure to stress causes a high level of these stress hormones in the body which can lead to issues such as high blood pressure and muscular damage, subsequently resulting in varicose veins. Although not all cases of varicose veins are caused by stress, it’s a good idea to visit a vascular doctor to discuss causes and different treatments.
Being unable to sleep at night is one of the sure signs of chronic stress. If you find that you’re wide awake each night and unable to wind down even though you’re feeling tired, it could be a result of the stress hormones in your body provoking the ‘fight or flight’ response that renders you unable to relax or fall asleep. Insomnia can lead to many different problems and can cause your stress to worsen.
There are many more physical symptoms of stress which you could experience. If you feel that your stress is taking a toll on your life, speak to your doctor.
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