Source: Women’s Health Magazine
You’re stressed. We’re stressed. Everyone’s stressed. No big deal, right? Because it’s so common, you might think that if you’re not lying on the floor from exhaustion, you’re probably fine. But stress has an insidious way of creeping up on you, and it’s not just a mental or emotional issue—stress symptoms can impact the body in some very visible (and bizarre) ways.
“One of the biggest problems I see in my practice is women coming in with multiple physical signs of stress,” says Nancy Molitor, Ph.D., a psychiatry professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. In fact, a new study found that stress and other negative emotions were consistently linked to poor physical health in more than 150,000 people in 142 countries. That’s because the mind and body are intrinsically connected:
“Emotional stress alerts the body to produce stress chemicals such as cortisol, which—if produced on an ongoing basis—begin to break down the immune, gastrointestinal, neurological, and musculoskeletal systems,” says Molitor.
What’s worse, those physical symptoms you end up with (um, bald patches) can bump up your emotional angst even more. If you don’t break the cycle, you’re left with an ugly feedback loop that increases your chances of serious issues such as obesity, depression, and heart disease.
The best ways to reduce your overall stress is to get enough sleep (seven to nine hours a night for most people), eat healthful food, exercise, reach out to supportive pals, and focus on things within your control. You can also learn to read your body and recognize the not-so-obvious signs that you’re overstressed before it all snowballs into a long-term health condition. Keep an eye out for these red flags.
Get the six surprising stress symptoms here.
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What symptoms do you have when you are stressed?
Peace and blessings,