Not sure if you’re stressed?
Nothing in your life is particularly stressful?
You don’t need to experience an event or a circumstance that you deem stressful in order for your body release stress hormones. Again, you do not need to intellectually recognize something as stressor in order for your body to respond accordingly.
Your bodies triggers may be as simple as the facial expression of the cashier at the store. The tone your spouse uses when they compliment you. An expectation we have on ourselves that we are not meeting. A show on TV. A scent of something. Repressing or dulling emotion.
Now, you’re not the only one who may be struggling to recognize stress in yourself, or, you may believe you are coping with it well but your biology and physiology say different.
Stress can show up in you in many different ways, mentally and physically. Once you are chronically stressed your symptoms can become your new “normal” baseline thus making it difficult for you to know if your system is experiencing it.
Some of these symptoms are acute hyperarousal symptoms and some of them are chronic hypoarousal symptoms which is why they seem to contradict each other. The chronic symptoms are the ones that are most concerning. Long term stress kills by impeding function of our organs, this creates conditions and diseases that can have dire consequences.
Digestive system (GI conditions can ultimately lead to malnutrition and cancer)
Lungs (stress hormones increase deterioration)
Not to mention..
Chronic stress is inflammatory and it affects all systems of the body including the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous (including your brain), and reproductive systems.
If you have under or over functioning in any of these areas it wouldn’t hurt to look at it through a stress lens. Our bodies strive for balance and wellness. Stress hormones over the long term deteriorate our bodies ability to maintain homeostasis and that is when disease and illness set in.
Now, take a deep lungful of air, gaze at this photo & sit with that information for a minute. This article may have caused a stress response unbeknownst to you.
Once you’re ready to move on I want you to be honest with yourself about the symptoms listed below. Take notes about which ones you are currently experiencing, which ones you sometimes experience and which ones you never experience.
Reflect on that list. Are there big consequences if those symptoms don’t get resolved.
If you’d like to, feel free to message me privately with your results. You can even include diagnoses you’ve already been labelled with for a fuller picture. I will be going into further depth about the physiology of stress and why it’s so detrimental to our health in future posts but if you need to know more now I’m happy to answer questions.
But first, the list.
These are some bodily based symptoms of stress
- Constipation or Diarrhea
Lot’s of times these symptoms are overlooked, labelled as food sensitivities or diagnosed as a condition
- Difficulty breathing
- Allergies and sensitivities
- Blurred eyesight or sore eyes
- Sleep problems
- Fatigue (exhaustion by afternoon) or Restlessness with a need to be doing rather than resting
- Muscle aches, headaches, migraines, body and joint pain
- Chest pains and high blood pressure
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Feeling sick, dizzy or fainting
- Sudden weight gain or weight loss
- Developing rashes or itchy skin
- Sweating more than your peers
- Seemingly fighting an infection or illness more than everyone else
- Inflammatory conditions not getting better or getting worse
- Changes to your period or menstrual cycle
- Existing physical health problems getting worse
And here are some stressed behaviors
- Finding it hard to make decisions
- Unable to concentrate or brain fog
- Unable to remember things, or it takes you longer to recall memories
- Constantly worrying or have feelings of dread
- Snapping at people
- Biting your nails
- Picking at or itching your skin
- Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw
- Experience sexual problems, such as losing interest in sex or being unable to enjoy sex
- Eating too much or too little
- Using recreational drugs or drinking alcohol more than you usually would
- Restless, like you can’t sit still
- Crying or feel tearful more often
- Spending or shopping too much
- Not exercising as much as you usually would, or exercising too much
- Withdrawing from people around you
- Zoning out
- Using social media, video games and TV as a distraction from uncomfortable emotions or thoughts
Last, but definitely not least, we’ve got some mental health symptoms
- Irritable, angry, impatient or wound up
- Over-burdened or overwhelmed
- Anxious, nervous or afraid
- Like your thoughts are racing or repetitive and you can’t switch them off
- Unable to enjoy yourself
- Uninterested in life and previously enjoyed hobbies
- Like you’ve lost your sense of humour
- A sense of dread
- Worried or tense seemingly about everything and everyone, especially about situations outside your control
- Sense of feeling neglected or lonely
- Existing mental health problems getting worse
I need you to know there’s hope. You can overcome visible and invisible stress. Whether it’s in your face and obvious to you, or not.
There’s a way.