Side Effects of Stress

Side Effects of Stress

Side Effects of Stress

Life can be stressful. Trying to juggle work, school, family obligations, and a hectic schedule can be challenging – and some days can be more trying than others. Everyone can struggle from time to time with finding balance, but prolonged stress can have adverse effects on your well-being. It’s important to recognize the physical and mental signs of stress and equip yourself with tools to manage it before it starts to affect your health.

Managing Stress

Stress management can be as simple as engaging in regular physical activity, interacting socially with family and friends (especially the ones you can laugh with!), finding time for the hobbies you enjoy, and committing to relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. Eating a nutritious diet and avoiding tobacco, alcohol and caffeine can help contribute to a healthy lifestyle that might help you manage stress at work and at home.

Stress Symptoms

Stress symptoms can be temporary or long-term indications that your body is out of equilibrium as it reacts and responds to changes in your environment. The signs of stress can include a range of physical problems, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension and cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach aches
  • Problems sleeping
  • Chest pain
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Hair loss

When left unchecked, these physical manifestations of stress can turn into more serious health issues, such as heart disease and diabetes. Stress has been shown to suppress your immune system, making you vulnerable to viruses and less capable of fighting infections.  

Stress can also affect your mental health, as well. Anxiety, irritability, restlessness and an inability to concentrate can seem like normal responses to stress, but when your behavior starts to change in relation to the stress you feel, consider the long term effects on your health and lifestyle.

Dealing with Stress

When you start to feel the signs of stress, pay attention to any physical, emotional, or mental changes you experience. If the stress symptoms become more than occasional occurrences, you should discuss your concerns with your doctor. You may try to relieve the stress on your own, but seek professional help if you feel overwhelmed or out of control. There may be underlying issues responsible for your feelings (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), for instance) or physical changes (perhaps a heart-related incident). Prolonged stress can result in depression, obesity, and substance abuse, but help is available.  Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance if you need it.