Physical Symptoms of Being Stressed

November 12, 2012

Physical Symptoms of Being Stressed

With life becoming so busy and hectic, many people are used to being in a constant state of stress. Unfortunately, the physical symptoms of stress can be detrimental to one’s well being.

When people think of stress they normally only think about the mental pressure that goes along with worry about bills, work, family, etc. In reality, these types of situations are the causes of stress on the body which can have noticeable physical and emotional effects. All of the symptoms of stress are caused by the body’s natural hormonal responses best known as “fight or flight.” Everyone is familiar with this feeling especially when a stressful situation arises suddenly. Your heart starts to race, your breathing increases, and you feel filled with energy. This natural effect is a defense mechanism for your body and is great for the short term solution to a stressful situation. On the other hand, the body begins to experience negative effects from this hormonal reaction if it is allowed to remain for an extended period of time.

Physical Symptoms

Because many of the situations causing stress in a person’s daily life continue over a period of time, people begin to show physical symptoms from the constant “alerted” state of the body and brain. The hormones and chemicals being released eventually have a negative effect on the functions of the body which manifest themselves in a variety of ways including:

  • Heartburn

  • Stomach and muscle cramps as well as spasms

  • Frequent Headaches

  • Irregular menstruations

  • Back and neck pain

  • Frequent illness such as colds or asthma attacks

  • Hair loss

  • Constant indigestion

  • Sudden loss of appetite or increased eating

  • Impotence

  • Poor circulation to the extremities

The longer these physical symptoms continue, the worse they can become. While one or two symptoms may not indicate stress, a combination of them should make you take the time reevaluate what may be causing you problems.

Behavioral Symptoms of Stress

Physical symptoms and behavioral symptoms often go hand in hand. The major difference is that behavioral changes can have a great effect on those around you. Some of the common changes that may occur include:

  • Over eating or under eating

  • Paranoia

  • Inability to cope

  • Excessive irritability

  • Substance abuse

  • Nail biting (for people that usually do not)

  • Always tired

  • Making decisions of all types becomes harder

  • Lack of concentration

  • Sudden emotional reactions to small and large irritations

  • Jumping between projects or responsibilities without finishing any

Just as the physical toll on the body can begin to wear you down, the changes in behavior can exacerbate the situation.

Coping with Stress

There are many small things that people can do to help manage everyday stress. These things can also be of great assistance when larger and more stressful events take place. Some of the ways to keep stress in check include finding a strong support system, using common sense for debt and borrowing, increased physical activity throughout the day, and finding stability throughout your daily life. If you notice that the behavioral and physical symptoms of stress have started to negatively affect your life, take the time to slow down and focus on the possible source. Work on the things that you can control and try not to worry about any factors beyond your control. Do not wait for things to come crashing down before you look for assistance.


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