How Stress Affects Your Body
By Emily Jacobson
Life is often full of frustrating hassles, deadlines and demands. As a result, many people experience stress on a daily basis. While stress can be a motivating force that helps you perform under pressure, too much of it isn’t good for your health. Stress has even been shown to play a role in chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease and stroke, as well as digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. Additionally, women are especially prone to stress during menopause, which causes hormone levels to fluctuate. If you find that you are often feeling a little too overwhelmed, your stress level may be unreasonably high. Educating yourself about the signs and symptoms of stress is the first step towards reducing the negative effects it has on your mind and body. Here are five signs that you’re too stressed out:
Pain In Your Jaw
When they are feeling tense or anxious, people tend to clench their jaw muscles, and that can happen while you’re awake or asleep. You also may be grinding your teeth, which can lead to a similar feeling of pain. A mouth guard can be useful for this. In general, it helps a lot to be mindful of what you’re experiencing so that you can get to the root of why you’re feeling tense. In the meantime, practice jaw relaxation exercises to ease the pain.
Itchy Skin Stress causes changes in the immune cells found in the skin, which can result in itchy skin and rashes. Stress can make certain conditions worse, such as psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema. If your skin has been itching lately, consider the level of stress in your life, and take steps to minimize it. If you’re still having problems with your skin, consider visiting a dermatologist.
Eye Twitch Sometimes a twitch will go away following a good night's sleep, but it can last as long as three weeks. Fatigue and excessive caffeine intake are the other main contributors to eye twitching. Reducing stress is the main thing can lead the twitching to stop.
Sore Gums Stress raises levels of the stress hormone cortisol, increasing the likelihood of inflammation throughout your body, including in your gums. It can also weaken your immune system, leading to a build-up of bacteria in the mouth that can cause gum irritation and inflammation. In addition to brushing your teeth and flossing regularly, boost your immune system by eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and taking a multivitamin daily.
Nausea Severe stress can often lead to an upset stomach. High levels of stress have been shown to increase the likelihood of getting stomachaches. The body produces the fight-or-flight response in reaction to stress, leading to heart palpitations and surges of adrenaline. Exercise can be a great way to combat the effects of stress-induced nausea. Diet also plays a role, so try to drink less coffee and steer clear of spicy foods.