Stress has a funny (or rude depending on how you look at it) way of showing up physically in our bodies. At times like these when stress is at an all time high here are four physical signs you are stressed out and how to fix them. You’ll want to read the entire post as it can greatly improve your days and they way you feel.
1. You have neck or shoulder pain
This is a super common physical sign of stress for me. It shows up all the time. A lot of people carry stress in their neck or shoulders.
Did you know all the muscles between your shoulders and forehead are often times referred to as the “tension triangle?” They are classified this way because they react the most when under psychological pressure.
Without even realizing it, when we’re stressed out, we tense our upper bodies up. If you are into meditation or therapy, one of the first things they tell you to do is relax your muscles, especially your shoulders and neck.
If you notice pain or signs of tightness/stiffness in your upper back and neck, or get headaches more often when you’re stressed it’s a sign you need to relax your body.
How to fix it
Meditation is a great way to relax not only your mind but your whole body. There is always an element of focusing on the muscle groups and what we can do to relax them. I use an app called Insight Timer that has guided meditations. You can read more on how I successfully practice meditation here.
Beyond just mental benefits, meditation is a great way to lower stress overall in the body. It not only provides relief in the short term but can provide longterm benefits to your health as well.
2. You have hair loss
Hair loss is a common and normal daily occurrence to an extent. If you notice your brush seems fuller than usual or you’re constantly shedding hair throughout the day, there’s a good sign it’s related to stress.
Sometimes this shows up in full patches of hair missing in spots on your head. If you are extremely stressed out it can put your hair follicles into a resting state, which can cause your hair to fall out and not grow back.
A few years ago when I was going through a stressful life situation I lost a ton of hair and it took years to come back. It’s still thinner than it used to be but the stress took a huge toll only body.
How to fix it
Properly nourishing your body, especially during stressful times is key. Make sure you are taking daily vitamins and eating the right kinds of foods and not a bunch of junk.
Remember, food is for our bodies and minds to function properly, not to fill it up with crap. What you eat directly affects how your body and mind functions. Make sure you are eating plenty of greens, fruits and lean meats (if you eat meat.)
Ensure you are also drinking half your body weight (in ounces) of water per day. Our brains get foggy when they’re dehydrated and can’t function at their fullest capacity.
3. Your stomach feels upset for no reason
Here’s another one of my most common issues. I was diagnosed with IBS at 18 and it has only gotten worse over the years but you don’t need this diagnosis to have stomach issues from stress.
If your stomach gets upset in stressful situations it’s not because of something you ate, it’s because of the stress. It can get so bad that it messes with your gut’s lining.
Your gut basically shuts down so it can shift your body’s energy to the anxiety you feel.
Research is finding more and more today that our mental health is directly impacted by our gut health. 80%+ of your serotonin is produced in your gut. This is the good stuff that sends happy signals to your brain.
How to fix it
Have you heard of adaptogens? They are non-toxic plants that help your body fight against stressors, whether they are physical, chemical or biological.
First, let me say I am not a doctor so it is best to consult with your medical doctor before making any major changes in your diet.
Adaptogens are things like plants, roots, herbs and mushrooms, just to name a few. It is believed they are equivalent to what exercise is for your muscles. If you’re looking to add them to your diet, you can try adaptogen teas or supplements if you’re not into eating straight from the source.
You can read more on adaptogens here.
4. Sleep is rough
Adrenal glands are small glands positioned just above each kidney. They produce hormones that you can’t live without, like cortisol. Cortisol is one of the main hormones that helps you respond to stress.
When our adrenal glands are overstimulated from stress, our cortisol levels fall out of balance. In a normal state, we produce cortisol in the morning for an energy boost and lower levels at night to fall asleep.
If you notice your body is out of whack on its sleep schedule it may be related to your cortisol levels being imbalanced.
How to fix it
Moving your body for at least 30 minutes a day can reduce your stress levels. Exercising releases endorphins, which are also happy signals sent to your brain.
If you find your brain or body in overactive mode, exercising is a great release to let out that energy, whether it’s negative or not.
Setting up a sleep routine will also help. Shoot for at least seven hours of sleep every night. Find something to do that relaxes you before falling asleep. I personally love to get in bed and read before I fall asleep.
Have you had any of these four physical signs you are stressed out? Stress can do crazy things to not only our minds but also our bodies if we don’t manage it properly. There is certainly no way to avoid it but we can better manage it with the tips mentioned above.
How do you handle stress?
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