How Stress Affects Your Mind And Body

According to a 2017 Gallup poll, when asked, a staggering 79% of Americans said that they felt stressed on a daily basis. In other words, whether you’re working nights as a nurse, freelancing until all hours of the night to cover the bills, or mothering a pack of screaming children around the clock, it’s no secret that stress is a major factor in nearly everyone’s lives these days.

While it may be common, though, stress can still be a bit of an enigma. A slight headache, failure to concentrate, or that struggle to fall asleep each night can easily be written off as minor issues — or maybe you just have a head cold, right?

However, if you suspect that you deal with daily stress, it may be time to consider the ways that stress can affect your mind, body, and emotions, diagnose if you’re dealing with stress — and then do something about it.

The Signs of Stress

Stress can come from many different places. Your environment, physical condition, and emotional state can all be stressors. Once that stress gains a foothold, though, many of the symptoms manifest in similar ways including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Stomach aches
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Weakening blood circulation
  • Muscle tension.
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Higher risk of a heart attack
  • Missed periods or erectile dysfunction
  • Lack of focus or motivation

These are some of the most common physical and mental concerns that aggravated or chronic stress can have on your body and mind. In addition, your emotional reaction to stress can lead to significant shifts in behaviour, such as withdrawing socially, emotional eating, expressions of anger, and even drug, alcohol, or tobacco use.

Man leaning over a desk with his head in his hands looking stressed. surrounded by a laptop, cup of coffee, a phone and a notebook

Address the Stress

While the list of potential side effects of stress can be alarming, it’s important that you take the time to consider the dangers and then take steps to do something positive to address them. Simply letting “what might happen” add to your level of stress will do little more than make an eventual crisis more certain. Instead, rejoice in the fact that you’ve been able to identify that you’re stressed. That is the first and, in many ways, the most important step in learning how to manage your stress.

Manage is the keyword here. Stress is a normal part of life, whether it affects us or not. Therefore, trying to control, manipulate, or eliminate your stress amounts to little more than a fool’s errand. In fact, approaching your stress in that manner will likely leave you feeling, well, more stressed out.

Instead, take stock of your situation and consider the following options as possible tools to help you manage the stress that you experience each day.

Try Body Stress Release

Body Stress Release (BSR) is a unique technique that attempts to spot the areas of tension and help you release that tightness …and the stress behind it. It’s a gentle, extremely simple approach to stress relief that doesn’t require massages, machines, medication, or manipulation.

Unplug

The world is filled with a continual stream of information these days — information that is often overwhelmingly negative. Whether you’re tracking the latest humanitarian crisis a half a world away or your blood pressure is mounting as you read a friend’s Facebook post, being plugged into the online world can create a perpetual stream of stressors. Make an effort to consciously unplug from the internet from time to time.

Avoid the Screens

Along with avoiding content online, it can be helpful to occasionally ditch all of those screens entirely. Binge-watching Netflix, catching the prime time news, playing pointless games on a tablet, and surfing the web on your smartphone, while okay in moderation, should not be your M.O. Consider how much screen use you have each day and consider cutting it down — significantly.

Consider What You Eat

If you’re feeling stressed, it’s tempting to grab a bag of chips or a half-gallon of ice cream to soothe your frazzled state — but resist the urge to do so. Healthy eating is the best way to truly resolve your stressed state over the long haul. Not only does it lead to feeling healthy and well, but even things like considering what you drink and how it can affect your teeth can significantly impact your self-confidence.

Utilize a Good Health App

Finally, look for a good health app to help you stick to all of these changes. A good app can help you track your sleep, food intake, and exercise. It can also watch your vitals and help you make sure that your heart isn’t getting too stressed out on a regular basis.

Keep Up the Good Fight

Stress is a serious struggle that can leave many people physically and mentally devastated. However, if you’re feeling stressed, the good news is that you’re not a lost cause. No matter how deeply those stressful thoughts are embedded in your mind, it’s never too late to start managing your stress.

If you can begin to do so with little steps now, you’ll find yourself breaking free from those anxious, stressful thoughts before you know it.

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