Headache, chest pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression, irritability…
These are all possible symptoms of a natural reaction to external factors – stress. While some stress may aid us to perform quicker under pressure or move out of harm’s way, stress left unchecked can negatively affect your mental and physical health.
Stress plays a key role in our body’s built-in fight-or-flight response. When our body senses danger (real or imagined), cortisol (commonly known as the stress hormone) and adrenaline are released in our body to increase our strength, stamina, and focus, essentially preparing us to fight or flee. This stress reaction, unfortunately, disrupts almost every system in our body, which is why chronic stress can cause such a wide range of issues like:
- Depression and anxiety
- Trouble sleeping
- Autoimmune disease
- Digestive Issues
- Skin rashes or Other Skin Conditions
- Heart Disease
- Trouble Controlling Weight
- Reproductive Issues
The trouble with chronic stress is it begins to feel normal, making it hard to identify for those suffering through it. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or any of the symptoms listed here, you should talk to your doctor to determine whether chronic stress is to blame or if there are other factors at play. Your doctor may recommend a therapist or counselor to aid in stress management.
If you’re looking to lower your stress levels, here are a few of our favorite ways to do so.