Although your body has a strong ‘fight -or-flight’ response to tackle acute stress, it cannot help you much in chronic stress. We all get stressed due to our busy lifestyle. Yet only few of us realize it or to be specific, accept it. Chronic stress occurs when people start denying that fact that they are stressed. Some people have a strong convincing mind that helps them to deny their stressful situation. Others are smart and are good at hiding their stress symptoms from other as well as themselves.
While you might keep saying ‘I am absolutely alright’ to everybody else you know, you should be able to recognize the signs of stress before it takes a toll on your health.
1. Weight gain: Yeah! If you don’t want to put on extra kilos, just lead a stress-free life. High levels of stress hormones cause excess fat deposition irrespective of whether you’re thin or fat. Also, a few people tend to overeat under stressful situations which cause the body to store more calories instead of burning them. Refer to our mega guide on weight loss.
2. Muscle tension: Hormones released during stress not only raise your blood pressure and heart rate but also cause your muscles to tighten up. Common muscle pain due to incorrect posture at work can worsen if you are stressed. Here are 10 effective tips to prevent back pain. Read more about what could muscle pain indicate.
3. Stomach ache: Butterflies or jitters in the stomach are not just a feeling of excitement or nervousness; they’re a classic symptom of stress. Studies have shown a close connection between the stomach and the brain. As per a report published by Harvard Medical School, if you suffer from gastro-related disorders like constipation, irritable bowel syndrome or acidity then your symptoms may worsen due to stress.
4. Hair fall: Chronic stress also causes sex hormones (androgens) to release. These hormones can interfere with your hair follicles causing temporary hair fall. This effect can last for anywhere between 3-6 months after a chronic stressful event. Here are some diet tips to control hair fall and some home remedies for hair fall.
5. Forgetfulness: If you just can’t remember to perform a few daily tasks at work (that otherwise you would never forget) then you are definitely stressed. Cortisol, a hormone released during chronic stress can cause the hippocampus (part of the brain that controls short-term memory) to shrink which interferes with your brain’s capacity to remember things. Target the root cause of your stress and you’ll get your memory back. Read more about how resting the brain can boost your memory.
6. Menstrual problems: In women, stress plays a major role in repressing hormonal control of the pituitary gland (which controls the hormones released by ovaries, thyroid and adrenal gland). This affects the regular menstrual cycle, ovulation and other reproductive functions in women.
7. Eye lid twitching: Eye lid twitching and stress are closely linked, although the exact connection is not established. Next time your eye lid starts flickering just close your eyes, drive away all thoughts from your mind, take a deep breath and relax. Repeat this couple of times and you eye lid will stop flickering instantly. Here are some tips to get rid of constant eyelid twitching.
8. Acne: Chronic stress affects almost the entire system. Your skin is no exception to that. High levels of androgens can cause sudden breakouts on the skin. Plus, when you’re stressed, the body’s healing ability is also altered to a great extent so most likely those pimples won’t go away unless you relax completely. Refer to our mega guide on acne causes, treatment, medication and home remedies.
9. Sleep disorders: Under stress, you mind is full of thoughts. Your brain tends to speed up the thinking process which interferes with sleep causing sleep disorders. Here are 7 useful tips to improve sleep.
10. Disturbed sex life: Personal and work-related stress is a huge barrier to satisfying sex life. Stress hormones interfere with other hormones that control sex drive (libido) sin humans. Try these yoga poses to reduce stress.
Organizational Stress by Jane Cranwell-Ward, Alyssa Abbey
Women’s health magazine (6 surprising signs you’re stressed)