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Most people suffer from some form of stress. Stress takes a toll on your mental and physical health. Read on to find out about eight surprising signs of stress that show that you have maxed out.

What is Stress?

Stress can be defined as the manner in which our body reacts to harmful situations which may either be real or perceived. It is a mechanism by which our body tries to prevent itself from a threat. The body’s reaction to a perceived threat is often known as ‘fight or flight.’

Common reactions of the human body to stress situations include the racing of the heart, quickened breath, rising of the blood pressure, and the tightening of the muscles.

Stress is often observed while dealing with other people, disciplining your kids, trying to    meet a deadline, managing finances, or while dealing with challenging relationships. A little bit of stress is fine. However, too much of stress can be overbearing and can prove to be physically and mentally draining.  

Each person reacts to stress situations in a different manner. Certain situations might be stressful for certain people while some other people might be equipped to handle those situations in a much better manner.

The symptoms of stress which clearly indicate the fact that you are maxed out are listed below.

Stress Symptoms

Stress can have an effect on almost all aspects of our lives. It can affect our physical health, behavior, thinking ability, and emotions. Symptoms of stress vary from one person to the other. Commonly observed stress symptoms that call for attention include:

  • Strange recurring dreams: It is believed that stress that we face during the day follows us in our dreams. If your keep getting recurring dreams related to missing a bus or seeing your house on fire then it is a sure indicator that you are overstressed and you need immediate attention.
  • Tightening of muscles: Too much of stress has an adverse effect on our musculoskeletal system. This can result in tightening of muscles coupled with spasms in muscles. This can be very painful. To relieve muscle stress, you should take 5-10 deep breaths and try to relax the tension from your muscles.
  • Eye twitching: Eye twitching is another stress-related symptom that can be very irritating and worrisome. This medical condition is known as blepharospasm. To get relief from continuous eye twitching, it is advised that you close your eyes and visualize a beautiful, soothing place that you would like to visit. If you experience eye twitching as a result of detailed work while staring at the computer, you should try to look out of the window every 20 minutes to relieve the stress.

Symptoms Which Show That Stress Has Really Taken A Toll On You

Another stress-related symptom that is often overlooked is tooth pain. Quite a number of people grind their teeth in sleep. Grinding of teeth can even make them crack. A number of people often clench their jaws when overstressed. About 5-12% people suffer from facial pain and are victims of the tempormandibular joint and muscle disorder which is often related to the grinding of teeth.

  • Changes in the menstrual cycle: Another common stress-induced symptom is related to changes in the menstrual cycle. Stress causes women to experience late and even missed periods. Severe stress may even result in a condition known as secondary amenorrhea wherein the menstrual cycle completely stops. Stress might even result in extremely painful cramps during periods.
  • Hair fall and graying of hair: When you are stressed out, you are more likely to experience hair fall and graying of hair. However, loss of hair is more closely linked to your stress levels. It is believed that traumatic events in your life couples with moments of intense stress may speed up the process of hair fall.
  • Upset stomach: Stress is also linked to gastrointestinal problems such as the irritable bowel syndrome. The intestines have nerves that are connected to the brain. During stress, these nerves become more active and make the intestines overly sensitive and increase their rate of contraction. Therapy is highly recommended for patients suffering from severe anxiety and depression.
  • Heavy breathing due to a running or congested nose: Severe stress tends to lower a person’s immunity thereby making the person vulnerable to frequent colds. As per a recent study, people with higher levels of stress are twice as likely to catch cold.  When you are under stress, the hormone, cortisol, commonly known as the stress hormone is released by the adrenal glands. One of the functions of this hormone is to temporarily dampen the immune system of the body, specifically the inflammatory response of the body. This is done to free up the body’s energy to deal with stress-causing threats.

Ways to Relieve Stress

The best way to relieve stress is by adopting healthy stress coping strategies and tricks. There are various stress coping strategies for relaxing the mind and the body. Some of these common tricks are listed below.

  • Relaxing your mind: You can de-stress your mind by indulging yourself in activities such as writing, talking, and meditating. You can spend some time writing about the things that are causing the stress. Alternatively, you could speak to your friends, family, or a counselor and try to find solutions for dealing with your stress. Spending time doing things that you really love is a great stress buster. You can indulge yourself in a hobby such as gardening, caring for pets, or doing something creative. Meditation is another great way of relieving stress. You can even practice guided imagery to feel relaxed. Certain therapies such as self-hypnosis, autogenic training, music, and humor therapy are useful in relaxing your mind.
  • Relaxing your body: Exercising is one of the best ways of relieving stress. You can walk or go to a gym to work out. Stretching can also help in relieving the muscle stress. Other forms of workouts for distressing your body include practicing yoga, tai chi, and qi gong. Breathing exercises such as roll breathing are also useful for relieving muscle stress. Various therapies such as massage and aromatherapy are helpful in relaxing your body.

Some people also find herbal supplements such as valerian, gingko, kava, and St.John’s Wort helpful in relieving stress symptoms such as insomnia and anxiety. 

Read full article

  • “Practical management of hair loss”, by Jerry Shapiro, et al. Published in the July 2000 issue of Canadian Family Physician, accessed on January 30, 2013.
  • “Effect of Acute Physical and Psychological Stress on Gut Autonomic Innervation in Irritable Bowel Syndrome”, by Charles D. R. Murray, et al. Published in the December 2004 issue of Gastroenterology, accessed on January 30, 2013.
  • Photo courtesy of kendiala on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/kendiala/29482742
  • Photo courtesy of courosa on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/courosa/4352878480