Believe it or not, but stress is not always a bad thing. Stress can help us conquer our fears or motivate us to get things done. But when you are constantly stressed and anxious, it can affect your physical and emotional state. According to the National Ag Safety Database, 90 percent of all illness and disease is stress-related. The most important part of managing your stress is catching the red flags. Not all of the signs are obvious, here are a few signs that you may not know are stress-related.
You’re always sick and can’t seem to get over it
If you feel like every week you have a cough, sore throat, or fever it could be because of your workload. When our bodies are under extreme pressure they secrete a stress hormone called cortisol that can help us short-term. But when we’re constantly stressed these hormones become depleted over time. When these hormones are withdrawn we become more susceptible to sickness.
You’re having trouble concentrating
When you’re too overwhelmed to focus on what’s in front of you, it could be a sign you’re overworked. Research has connected long-term exposure to excess amounts of cortisol to the shrinking of the hippocampus, the brain’s memory center.
You have a constant headache that just won’t go away
If you experience throbbing or feel pressure anywhere on the head or temple area, there’s a good chance it’s a tension or stress headache. Oftentimes people point to particular troubles in their life that might be causing this pain, but lifestyle might be to blame instead. Keep in mind, if your head pain feels like a “migraine headache,” “the worst headache of your life,” or a headache that wakes you from sleep, those are signs of a dangerous health problem. You should visit a doctor immediately.
Your back or neck is always aching
If you’ve got knots in your shoulders, a stiff neck, or your lower back cramped up after a long day, it could be the constant of a job or personal situation, not just the position you sit in during the day. High levels of stress and tension create discomfort and muscle pain by tightening muscles and causing muscle spasms. And stiff muscles in your neck can also lead to headaches, he says. If your back pain developed after an accident or emotional trauma, it could also be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The National Institute of Health recommends talking to your primary doctor, as many people aren’t able to heal their back pain until they deal with the emotional stress that’s causing it.
You have trouble sleeping
If you find yourself waking up and worrying or ruminating over things, it could be a sign of anxiety or depression. After a long day, sleep should come easy, and getting into bed should finally be a time when you can shut your brain off. If you feel tired but have a difficult time falling asleep, it’s possible you have stress-related fatigue.