Stress affects us all in day-to-day life. Whether it’s minimal or you struggle to get through life events, no one can escape stress. In fact, some minor stress can actually be good for you! Stress can be a challenge that keeps you motivated, alert, and ready to avoid danger. However, as saying goes – too much of anything can make you sick. High-stress levels can hinder your emotional and physical well-being, and can potentially bring on certain symptoms and diseases.
Here we will take a closer look at how constant stress can affect your mind, body, and general well-being, as well as steps, treatment and advice that can help you combat chronic stress, eliminate anxious thoughts and improve your overall health.
Stress has a physiological impact on the body by releasing hormones into the bloodstream. This survival mode accelerates your heart rate and affects your breathing. With a constant strain on your system, you’re bound to feel exhausted over time which is detrimental to our physical and mental health. If you’re constantly under pressure, getting through the day and performing the simplest of tasks can feel impossible.
What’s more, too much long term stress can make it difficult to switch off at night. For those who are always tossing and turning and barely get any shuteye because of chronic stress, you’re sure to feel exhausted and rundown which can affect work performance. Simple actions like having a soak in the bath before going to bed can have a calming effect and prevent tiredness and fatigue.
Commonly referred to as tension headaches or stress headaches, these are thought to be physical symptoms brought on by stress. Such headaches can last anywhere between half an hour to a couple of hours. Unlike a normal headache, stress headaches feel like pressure on either side of your head or could manifest as prefrontal cortex pain behind the eyes. You may experience tension in your shoulders and neck too.
If you resonate with these symptoms and have tension headaches often, it’s possible you are dealing with too much stress. Don’t suffer in silence. Instead, book a GP appointment to find out the root cause.
Brain Fog and confusion
Studies have shown that stress can kill new neurons in the brain’s hippocampus. The hippocampal function is involved in spatial memory, which is the cognitive process that enables a person to remember different locations and relations between objects. So if you find yourself in a room struggling to remember why you are there, it could be stress symptoms.
Teeth grinding is a common symptom of stress that is associated with a lack of sleep. When you go into the land of nod, your subconscious has heightened activity. This means that while you think you may be having a restful sleep, you could be grinding your teeth due to stress.
Unfortunately, teeth grinding can cause an array of oral health problems, not to mention a painful jaw which will only add to your discomfort and suffering. Your dentist may advise you to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth in these instances.
A big part of many of our confidence comes down to our physical appearance. Many people take great pride in keeping their hair in tip-top condition. However, if you’re dealing with lots of stress, you may suffer from hair loss. There are several types of hair loss that can be linked to high-stress levels, such as telogen effluvium.
Understandably, losing your hair can have a crippling impact on your self-esteem. If you’re in this situation, there are treatments available to promote regrowth, such as Minoxidil. Oxford Online Pharmacy sells hair loss treatment that you can look into. They can guide you through the types of hair loss treatment to find one that’s right for your needs.
Loss Of Libido
As part of adult life and all the relationships that come with it, libido plays a major part. To function properly in the bedroom, your neurological pathways and hormonal balance need to be in sync. For those who are constantly stressed, you will release hormones that interfere with this balance.
Over time, this can result in a loss of libido which can be highly distressing. The good news is that you can seek treatment from your GP who can recommend stress-busting methods to help you feel calmer, and more importantly, get your libido back.
High-stress levels impact your mood in ways that you may find hard to manage. When you are feeling stressed, your nervous system goes into overdrive. This means your sensory receptors are more sensitive to stimuli, which makes everything feel more intense. This can add to a feeling of perceived pressure, and causes you to react to things in a different manner.
When you’re feeling stressed, irritability is inevitable. Unfortunately, mood swings can cause you to act out of character and behave in ways you don’t recognise. If you or a loved one has noticed an obvious change, it’s time to speak to your GP.
Changes In Eating Habits
Many people who are managing stress find their eating habits change. Whether you eat less, eat more, or pile your plate with junk food, you need to pay attention to your appetite to notice any significant changes. If you have lost your appetite due to stress, this is because an area of the brain known as the hypothalamus produces a corticotropin-releasing hormone that suppresses it.
On the other hand, those who are stressed for a long period release the stress hormone cortisol. This does the opposite by increasing your appetite, particularly for starchy and sweet foods. If you have noticed you’re eating more or less, you may benefit from seeing your GP.
Getting Sick More Often
Too much stress can have serious effects on your overall health. Stress can suppress your immune system and stop it from functioning as normal. When you are stressed, your release cortisol into the bloodstream. When cortisol is released, DHEA (an immune-supporting hormone) cannot be released simultaneously.
Because of this, your immune system suffers. If you find you are getting colds and the flu often and struggle to shake them off, a weakened immune system could be the culprit. Don’t ignore these issues. Instead, talk to your GP as they may be able to help.
Becoming Less Sociable
Human beings depend on each other for interaction and comfort. While we all enjoy having some privacy and time to relax alone, if you find you’re staying indoors more often and avoiding social events, this could signal that you’re stressed. If everything feels like it is getting too much, it’s a natural reaction to hide away. Over time, withdrawing from society will negatively impact your life, which will only make things worse.
Leading on from becoming less sociable, high bouts of stress can lead to anxiety and depression. This is a mood disorder that makes you feel low and disinterested in the things you normally enjoy. What’s more, depression can change your appetite, sleep habits, and concentration levels. In any given week in England, 3 in 100 people will be diagnosed with depression, so you are not alone. Speak to your GP who can offer treatment and help you manage symptoms.
Stress can be rooted in work, health, financial, social issues, or a combination of them all. Starting a new job, moving house, going on a first date, or taking on new responsibilities all come with their fair share of stress. Whatever the situation, how you handle stressful experiences is what matters.
Stress for a short period isn’t anything to worry about. However, left unchecked, stress can significantly affect your life, health, and wellbeing. If you notice any of the above are creeping into day-to-day life, it’s time to see your GP.