Stress is arguably one of the most silent killers on the planet, largely because people don’t realize something is going wrong, or they refuse to act on it.
But why does stress contribute to so many aspects ill health, ultimately leading to death?
It is because often it is untraceable. You may not realize you are suffering from stress overload.
Interested to know if your stress is rapidly becoming out of control? Look for the following tell-tale signs:
Unexplained Aches And Pain About The Body
A little pain here and there is normal, and should be nothing to get worried over; but it can spell a worrying trend when it occurs too often. And this is the case with being overly stressed all the time.
Muscular pains most commonly occur around the back, neck or shoulder areas, and may be attributed to poor sleep patterns, although it is not always the case. Medication to treat the pain many only yield temporary relief, and should not be relied upon as a long term solution.
Frequent Colds And Infections
One thing associated with high stress levels is the negative effect on immunity. Cortisol suppresses the immune system and leaves the body wide open to infection. This is especially troublesome during flu season, and necessitates that extra precautions be takes (such as increasing anti-oxidant food consumption).
Poor Sleep Patterns
Insomnia is usually one of the first signs to appear when you are over-stressed, as cortisol does not work by itself. In fact, it recruits the neurochemicals adrenalin and noradrenalin, which enhance awareness, and energy levels.
This is an important function in the mornings when you need that “get up and go” boost, but not at night when you should be unwinding. Use of heavy stimulant based supplements (such as with caffeine) too late at night will cause this to occur.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure involves multiple pathways all experiencing dysfunction for its development, with cortisol happy to oblige. High blood pressure in this case is precipitated by increases retention of water (which increases blood volume), faster heart rate, and blood vessel constriction. All these factors increase blood pressure, so care needs to be taken to manage cortisol and stress levels.
Frequent Outbursts Or Mood Swings
It can be hard to maintain a level head when stress levels are high, causing you to lash out to anyone who seemingly irritates you. This is not normal behavior, especially if the individual was previously very level headed. If it does occur, it may be best to reduce work load, and spend more time with family and loved ones in a bid to relax.
Depression Or Feelings Of Inadequacy
Stress can seriously affect your emotional well-being, especially since it can tear apart relationships with loved ones. You are likely to be irritable, picking fights, or feel pressured to perform. This can amount to depression, anxiety or feelings of disappointment. Depression is sometimes difficult to diagnose, especially in individuals who do not possess a strong support system.
Stress can also cause an inability to have a sharp memory or lack a sharp focus. You would feel like you’re not yourself and not able to think clearly. This is known as a brain or mental fog.
We’ve all experienced mental fog. You feel like your brain is made of cloud puffs instead of an actual brain. Its symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Diminished memory
- Find it hard to focus
- Poor communication skills
- Low motivation
- Easily distracted
Brain fog is a result of any type of imbalance in the control center of the brain, otherwise known as the hypothalamus. This imbalance can be a result of inflammation, free radicals or any type of stress brought on by several factors, such as:
- Imbalanced hormones
- Not getting enough sun exposure
- Substance abuse
Even though mental fog is natural as a result of our busy, nonstop lifestyles, it shouldn’t happen frequently. If you feel that you’re experiencing fogginess more often than you’d like, then here are some simple changes you can do to stop it from happening and prevent any future occurrences.
· Eat right
It’s amazing how much power our food has over us. Processed foods, foods high in saturated fats and gluten all have a negative effect on your brain. So much so that a study has proven how gluten sensitivity has been linked to low concentration and focus abilities. Also, not getting enough water into your system can lead to brain freeze.
.Take Your Vitamins
If your diet is lacking in antioxidants, vitamins, such as D and B complex, or minerals, such as calcium, zinc and magnesium, then you should start looking for supplements that work along your diet and provide you with all the necessary nourishment you’re lacking.
· Get Better Sleep
We all sleep, but it’s the quality of our sleep that can either make us or break us. High quality sleep improves brain function on a whole. While it’s ideal to get the full 8 hours each night, some people require only 6 for optimal effectiveness. Find what works best for you, then regulate your sleep by creating a relaxing bedtime routine and a comfortable sleeping area.
· Work out
When you exercise, you send fresh, oxygenated blood to your entire body, mainly your brain. This boosts its cognitive functions and diminishes brain fog. Studies have proven how exercise can improve learning and study skills, optimize concentration and memory skills.
Ease the Pain Naturally
When you experience aches and pain you don’t have to reach for an over the counter or prescription medication to ease every ache and pain when there are alternatives that naturally work with your system. Here are some simple ways you can relieve pain the next time it flares up.
Hot and cold compresses- Using alternating hot and cold compresses can help alleviate pain. The cold compress can ease pain caused by swelling, while alternating hot compresses can help release healing proteins in the body. Compressing both hot and cold can restrict the blood flow which aids in reducing inflammation too.
Lymphatic and muscular massage- Our lymphatic system is a pathway our bodies use to rid toxins. The system works well on its own, but it can be maximized through lymphatic massage. Additionally, swollen, knotted, or bound muscle pain can be relieved through deep tissue massage. While many people take pain medication for aches caused by toxic overload and muscle pain, many times a healthy massage can heal things faster without introducing chemicals into the body.
Drinking more water- Joint pain is a common reason people reach for medication and have invasive procedures. Dehydration is a chief reason cartilage becomes brittle and less shock absorbent. Drinking water has countless health benefits which include a decrease in joint pain, headaches, and other aches.
Sometimes pain can be a result of inflammation in the body.
· Find a hobby
While it may seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do what needs to be done. There are ways to incorporate fun, relaxing activities into your weekly schedule. The first step is to carve out some time for yourself . Journaling thoughts can give you an outlet in reducing stress. The second step is to find something you enjoy doing just to chill out. The final step is to decompress and enjoy.
Stress and its affects can be managed. You may find that work is needed to find a solution that works for you. Each one of us is unique, so it may be a bit challenging at first to find that perfect fit. If you find yourself experiencing one or more of the symptoms above with increasing frequency, it is time to take a step back from the burden you have placed on your shoulder. Sometimes, a short vacation, weekend getaway or just a simple trek in the great outdoors can do wonders for your wellbeing.
Please note that the advice given is personal opinion only , not medical advice. For more in depth analysis of depression, anxiety and other mental or behavioral health issues please seek the medical help from a licensed professional.