Health

20 Signs You're Suffering From More Stress Than You Actually Realize

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Stress is a silent killer that affects all of us regardless of age or status.

A little bit of stress is normal because it is your brain's natural fight-or-flight reaction to protect you from scary situations and threats. When faced with a harmful situation, your heart rate increases, muscles tighten, breathing becomes faster and your blood pressure rises.

However, when these symptoms occur often and become more noticeable then it can take a toll on various aspects of your life and lead to serious long-term mental and physical health issues.

According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is hard on the mind and body and can lead to depression and increase risk of cardiovascular disease.

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As with many conditions, the best way to reduce and effectively control stress is to identify what the causes are then create strategies to manage them. Every person is different so some symptoms don't manifest the same for everyone but there are some common ones that will help you identify stress before it worsens.

Here are 15 common warning signs of uncontrolled stress to watch out for:

Emotional Signs

  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Agitated
  • Anxious

Physical Signs

  • Low energy
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches or Migraines
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Body aches
  • Increaed heart rate
  • Changes in appetite
  • Increase in nervous behaviours such as nail biting
  • Hair loss
  • Skin problems such as acne breakouts
  • Menstrual cycle changes
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Cognitive Signs

  • Poor problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Memory problems
  • Negative thinking
  • Constant worrying

Once you become aware of the red flags of stress, there are plenty of ways you can manage them. Switching up your diet, changing how you work, exercising and meditating are some common ways people have found to be successful in managing stress.

Some people find peace of mind through aromatherapy, using stress balls, drinking herbal teas or even listening to relaxing music before bed. One study found that increasing "positive affect" can make a huge difference in one's stress levels.

According to the results, positive affect can lead to a 22 percent drop in the risk of heart disease. Basically, if you increase positive thinking and engage in fun activities you can reduce stress. However, it is important to note that this may not be true for everyone so if you think you're experiencing symptoms of chronic stress, you should consult an expert to determine the best course of treatment.

[Sources: APA/WebMD]

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