Stress is a common part of life. There is an array of external and internal causes for the reaction. Stress can be the catalyst for a variety of ailments yet it can be hard to pinpoint that stress is your problem because it can mask itself with many other symptoms.
These symptoms can affect your health without you even realizing it, but recognizing the common ones attributed to stress can help you manage it early. The first step to stress management is awareness.
Here are 16 clear signs that show you are way too stressed out.
1. Body Pain. High-stress levels can result in the body starting to break down, which can result in stomach issues, diarrhea, ulcers, muscle pain, chest pain, and palpitations. According to a study published on PubMed, compared 16 people with chronic back pain to the controlled group. They found that those with higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol had chronic back pain.
2. Not Sleeping Well. There are a number of remedies to getting a good night’s sleep when tossing and turning become a frequent problem. However, it’s important to get to the source of the issue because sleep can be one of the first things affected by stress. It’s not something you should ignore. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “Stress causes hyperarousal, which can upset the balance between sleep and wakefulness.”
3. Weight Fluctuations. If you notice a change in your appetite, whether you’re overeating or eating less, it’s a window into one’s physical and emotional bodies. Stress can slow down the metabolism, which will result in weight gain, according to WebMD.You are what you eat. When your body is too stressed, cells don’t get enough oxygen, which makes it important that you’re putting the right things into your body.
4. Constant Worrying. At times, stress can feel like it has a hold on your life when the problem won’t escape your thoughts. Whether it’s work, financial problems or family, this constant worrying won’t come to an end unless you do something about it. According to a study published on PubMed, 816 women with major depression were significantly associated with acute and chronic stress. It’s important to remember that this study only shows an association with depression, it does not mean that stress causes depression.
5. Restlessness: According to Healthline, restlessness and agitation is a common sign of stress. In most cases, it can be brought on by provocation. For example; you might feel restless or agitated as a response to stress at school or work.
6. Loss Of Libido. During stressful periods, many people experience a change in their libido. One study published on PubMed examined the relationship between chronic stress and sexual arousal. Researchers had participating women watch an erotic film while they measured the women’s genital and psychological arousal. The results showed that women who had a higher stress level had lower genital levels. The main reason was the increase in cortisol.
7. Acne. When someone is feeling stressed out, they tend to touch their face more often which leads to the spreading of bacteria and contributes to acne. One study published in the journal JAMA Dermatology assessed the association between stress and acne. Researchers evaluated changes in acne severity during nonexamination and examination periods and to assess the possible relationship of these changes in severity with perceived examination stress by using previously validated scales measuring acne severity and perceived stress.
8. Headaches. A study published in the Journal of Headache and Pain which examined 267 people who were suffering from chronic headaches. What researchers found was that stressful events proceeded the development of chronic headaches in 45% of the cases.
9. Aching Mouth. If your mouth is constantly sore when you wake up in the morning, it can be a sign of grinding teeth which usually occurs while you’re sleeping. This can become worse if you’re stressed out as well, according to Matthew Messina, who is a consumer advisor to the American Dental Association.
10. Strange Dreams. If you’re in a generally good mood, your dreams will most likely be positive as you sleep so you wake up in a good mood, says Rosalind Cartwright, PHD and a psychology professor at Rush University Medical Center. She adds that when you are stressed, you will frequently wake up which will disrupt this process and result in unpleasant dreams all night.
11. Sweet Tooth. The University of Pennsylvania did a survey of pre- and postmenopausal women and found that there was only a small decrease in the prevalence of chocolate cravings after menopause. Researchers suggest that it could be stress or other factors that can trigger a woman’s craving for chocolate.
12. Itchy Skin. A Japanese study of over 2,000 people found that those who had a chronic itch (known as pruritis) were twice as likely to be stressed out compared to those without the condition. According to Gil Yosipovitch, MD, a clinical professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University, stress likely aggravates underlying conditions such as dermatitis eczema and psoriasis because the stress response activates nerve fibers which causes the itchy sensation.
13. Worse-Than-Usual Allergies. A 2008 experiment was conducted by reseachers from Ohio State University College of Medicine, which found that those suffering from allergies had more severe symptoms after they took an anxiety-inducing test, compared to when they performed a task that did not stress them. According to Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD, stress hormones may have the ability to stimulate the production of IgE, which is a blood protein that causes an allergic reaction.
14. Frequent Sickness. According to one study that is published on PubMed, there may be an association between stress and a weakened immune system. The study involved 61 older adults who were injected with the flu vaccine. Participants who were suffering from chronic stress were found to have a weakened immune response to the vaccine. This had researchers to believe that there may be an association between stress and a decreased immunity.
15. Fast Heartbeat. Another stress symptom that you may experience is an increased heart rate. One study that backs up this claim is published on PubMed. The study measured the heart rate reactivity in response to stressful and non-stressful events. The findings were that people had significantly higher heart rates during stressful activities. In addition, another study published on PubMed that included 133 teenagers found that when they underwent a stressful task, it increased their heart rate.
16. Sweating. A study published on PubMed found that stress and exercise significantly increased the rate of sweating by two to five points in those who suffered from palmar hyperhidrosis, a condition characterized by excess sweating in the hands. This is not to say that sweating is only caused by exercise and stress. It can also be the cause of anxiety, heat exhaustion and thyroid conditions as well.