If there’s one thing certain in life, it would be that everyone is susceptible to stress. Stress is the body’s response to threats or demands, and in certain situations can help you perform better even while under pressure. When it becomes too overwhelming however, then it can compromise your physical, mental, and emotional health. How so?
When you are placed in a compromising position – such as a surprise presentation or an emergency – then the body poises itself for a fight-or-flight scenario. Your nervous system responds to the threat by releasing stress hormones called cortisol and adrenalin. These hormones make your heart beat faster, increase your blood pressure, quicken your breath, and make your senses sharper. Your strength and stamina improve, as well as your reaction time.
You become more focused, which helps you deal better with the situation.
However, the body isn’t equipped with the proper tools to distinguish everyday stressors from life-threatening scenarios. For instance, your nervous system can flood your body with cortisol when you are just upset about a fight, or if you are worried about a deadline. This leads to chronic stress, which has the tendency to upset almost every system in your body. It increases the risk of cardiac episodes, triggers premature skin aging, shuts down your immune system, and even affects your performance in the bedroom. In this regard, the constant stress is aggravating your physical and mental health rather than giving you the boost you need to deal with stressful situations.
Oftentimes people don’t realize how stressed they really are, which can make them susceptible to chronic stress. To avoid that, here are four signs that indicate you’re dealing with too much stress.
1. You’re perpetually sick.
Stress can shut down your immune system which makes you susceptible to a number of illnesses and infections. If you find yourself constantly battling sore throat, colds, or a cough, then you should probably take a chill pill or give yourself enough downtime from the office to recuperate from your stressors.
2. Your muscles feel stiff.
Most people associate back or neck pain with bad posture, but in reality stress can cause muscle spasms and tighten muscles, which in turn causes muscle pain. If you can feel knots on your shoulders or if you constantly have a stiff neck, then you probably should take a closer look at what can be triggering your stress.
3. You can’t sleep well.
Sleep is designed to give the body the much deserved break it needs so it can get ready for a new day. If you are agitated or stressed, you often have interrupted sleep so you don’t get as much rest. If you find yourself waking up tired and even crankier than ever, then it may be your body’s way of saying that it needs more rest.
4. Your skin is suffering.
If your allergies are worsening, your skin is constantly breaking out, or if you have itchy skin, then it’s probably because you are stressed. Anxiety and stress aggravates skin conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema.
If you notice that you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, then it may do you good to take a step back and re-evaluate how you are spending your day. If you’re constantly in stressful situations, then you may want to take a day or two off to fully recuperate.