Prolonged stress can leave sufferers numb and frozen. And one of the most damaging consequences of this is that it can...
7 signs that you’re showing stress on the body
Written by The Healing Hub
If you have ever felt your throat constricting or your stomach tied up in knots, you’ll know that stress isn’t, in fact, an abstract emotional problem. It takes an obvious and significant toll on your physical state, too.
More widely, your thoughts actually hold an incredible amount of power over physical reality. For a practical demonstration of just how far your directed intentions will enhance or damage your wellbeing, you might want to check out Nikki Owen’s Big Apple Experiment.
So how exactly does stress translate into physical damage? Here are the 7 telltale signs of stress to look out for…
Aches and pains
When you are stressed, muscles tense up, and then relax once again when the crisis has passed. The trouble is, if you are experiencing a constant stream of stress episodes, those muscles don’t get the chance to relax and repair. You may physically feel the effects of this in the form of headaches, back and shoulder pain, and body aches.
During a stress episode, breathing becomes quicker and more shallow. This can cause the chest wall muscles to tense up or go into spasm. Stress also causes your heart to beat stronger and faster, which can lead to a spasm of the coronary artery. Both of these can cause you to experience chest pain and discomfort.
Headaches and dizziness
Symptoms of tension headaches include dull or aching pain, pressure behind the eyes and a tightness around your head and in your neck and shoulders.
The hormones released during stress episodes have the effect of narrowing blood vessels, sometimes resulting in dizziness or lightheadedness.
High blood pressure
Stress causes your body to release a surge of hormones that temporarily increase your blood pressure. When stress subsides, blood pressure levels drop. However, frequent, temporary spikes in blood pressure can actually lead to the type of damage that can occur from long-term high blood pressure, including damage to your heart and kidneys.
Stomach and digestive problems
Stress can lead to unhealthy behaviour, including eating much more or much less than normal. This can trigger uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms such as heartburn or acid reflux. Weight gain is another common consequence of this.
Contraction of the blood vessels surrounding your stomach and intestines leads to the familiar ‘butterflies’ in the stomach feeling.
High amounts of the stress hormone, cortisol, can break down collagen and elastin, the chemicals that help your skin keep its elasticity. As a result, stress and anxiety can actually make you look older than your years.
Further research suggests that stress can lead to insulin resistance, whereby the cells in your liver, fat and muscles lose their ability to use glucose from your blood for energy. This can lead to a process called glycation that further reduces skin elasticity, increasing the chances of wrinkles forming.
In short, infrequent spurts of the stress hormone cortisol can boost your immunity by limiting inflammation. However, over time, your body can get used to having too much cortisol in the blood, increasing the likelihood of more inflammation, and more severe, prolonged reactions to viruses. Stress also tends to reduce the body’s level of white blood cells that help fight off infection.
The Healing Hub’s feel-good tracks flood your body with healthy hormones such as serotonin and oxytocin to help your cells flourish and enable you to access a growth physical and mental state.
To help you overcome anxiety, stress and overwhelm before it has the chance to take its toll on your body, sign up to The Healing Hub’s Free App to release emotions from your body to feel lighter and create a sense of calm, mental peace, and emotional tolerance.
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