The Surprising Ways Your Body Reacts to Stress


The Surprising Ways Your Body Reacts to Stress

These days, everyone is stressed. Modern life is full of pressures, as you juggle your work, home and family responsibilities. You constantly rush here and there trying to keep all of the plates spinning, all the while ignoring your own health. Soon, you don’t even notice the stress, because running on a hamster wheel just feels normal.

Sound familiar? You’re not alone. The American Psychological Association’s annual “Stress in America” survey asked respondents to rate their stress on a scale of one to ten, and the average adult rates his or her daily stress level at a 5.1, while they believe that a daily rating should be 3.6 or lower. Only about 30 percent of adults feel that they are managing their stress effectively, and most report that their stress has had some impact on their mental and physical health.

The most common physical ailments reported in relation to stress include fatigue, insomnia and nausea or indigestion. However, what many people fail to realize is that extreme or ongoing stress can have other effects on your physical health — and some of them you can’t even see.

Beauty Is Only Stress Deep?

Beauty Is Only Stress Deep?

One often-upsetting physical manifestation of stress is the effect on their appearance. We all know how we look after a long night of no sleep, with dark circles and bags under our eyes and sallow skin. Usually, a good night’s sleep helps fix those issues.

But ongoing stress can do more to your hair and skin in the long term. When you are stressed, your body ramps up production of sex hormones called androgens, which can cause temporary hair loss and acne. Losing about 100 strands of hair per day is normal, but during stressful episodes, you may find that your hair is falling out at a more alarming rate. You might also find that you have acne flare-ups that are more painful or larger than normal, or show up in unusual places, like your back.

If stress is keeping you up at night, and it’s starting to show, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to help you and pinpoint the cause, provide strategies or even give you a prescription sleep aid that you can order from a Canadian pharmacy that will help you get some much-needed shuteye.

Aches, Pains and Twitches

We’ve all experienced the eyelid twitch that we’re convinced that everyone else can see, but is usually completely unnoticeable to others. Doctors don’t know why, but stress can trigger these spasms, which may last for a few seconds or a minute or longer. Lack of sleep and caffeine can also trigger or exacerbate the twitches.

Your eyelids aren’t the only muscles affected by stress. Stress can also make your back hurt, usually because you are carrying a lot of tension and not relaxing your muscles. In addition, stress can trigger the release of adrenaline and cortisol, hormones that power the “fight or flight” response. While this is great if a hungry bear is chasing you, a constant stream of these hormones isn’t good for your muscles, as it can cause them to tense and tighten. These hormones can also raise your blood pressure, and are linked to increased cholesterol and blood sugar.

Showing Stress with your Mouth?

When you are stressed, do you clench your jaw or grind your teeth? If so, you could have an achy mouth, which is another common sign of stress. Perhaps an odder symptom is bleeding gums. Studies show that people who are excessively stressed out tend to have a higher occurrence of periodontal disease. You can blame cortisol for that one too, as the hormone decreases the immune system’s ability to fight off bacteria. Good oral hygiene can usually prevent the problem, but if you’re brushing and flossing every day and still have sensitive or bleeding gums, stress could be to blame.

Dealing with Stress

It’s easy to say that people should relax and try to avoid getting too stressed out, but as anyone living with stress can attest, it’s not always that simple. Still, there are some things that you can do to chill out and stay healthy — or at least avoid the annoying twitchy eyelid.

Exercise and eat right.

It sounds like this is the prescription for everything, but it’s true — maintaining a healthy diet goes a long way toward maintaining good health, as does regular sweat sessions.

Identify your major causes of stress and find ways to reduce their impact on your life.

It could be as simple as saying “no” or delegating, or it may require more significant changes, like ending a relationship or changing jobs. Either way, making changes is usually the first step to less stress.

Learn stress relief techniques.

Yoga, tai chi, meditation, visualization and even simple breathing exercises can help you more effectively manage your response to stress.

Get help.

If you cannot manage your stress yourself or feel overwhelmed, get help from your doctor, a mental health professional or friends and family.

It’s easy to say that people should relax and try to avoid getting too stressed out, but as anyone living with stress can attest, it’s not always that simple. Still, there are some things that you can do to chill out and stay healthy — or at least avoid the annoying twitchy eyelid.

Stress is harmful to your health, and often in ways that you cannot see or don’t expect. Even if you don’t think you are at a level five or above, if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be under too much stress. Address the issue, and you will feel better.