Can stress make you sick? The quick answer is yes, and these 11 signs will warn you to slow down before your health deteriorates.
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11 Signs Stress Is Making You Sick
1. You’re Experiencing Headaches or Migraines
How can stress make you sick? When you’re stressed, your muscles stiffen, which can trigger tension or migraine headaches.
People who are too stressed often feel their heads pounding in pain. Stress can also make a migraine worse.
What you can do: While headaches are inevitable during stressful times, you can prevent it from worsening by taking ibuprofen. You can also dab peppermint or lavender oil on your temples when your head starts to hurt.
Doing relaxing activities such as meditation or yoga also helps to ease tension, reducing the intensity of a headache. You can also try breathing techniques and exercises for stress.
2. You Have an Upset Stomach
Stress not only messes up with your head but your gut function, too. Stress and anxiety can trigger the body to produce more stomach acid, leading to heartburn.
It can also cause bloating and gas as stress slows down the emptying of food from your tummy. You may also experience stomach cramps and diarrhea as stress increases the contraction in your colon.
What you can do: Over-the-counter antacids may help you feel better. Or, you can also try taking other stomach soothers such as ginger or chamomile tea.
3. You Often Get Colds
Stress also affects your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off viruses. As a result, you become more prone to cold or cold sores.
What you can do: Cold remedies include proper hydration and rest. You can also use saline nasal drops or sprays or sip warm liquids such as soups or teas.
4. You’re Wide Awake All Night
You may also find your mind wandering and buzzing all through the night when you’re stressed, making it difficult for you to get that shut-eye. Experts reveal that stress is the leading cause of sleep-deprivation.
Sleep problems, unfortunately, can lead to irritability, anxiety, and impaired focus. It can, likewise, cause a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation.
What you can do: Nothing gets solved by worry. Instead of staying up late overthinking things, set your worries aside and tackle them the following day.
To sleep fast, you can also do some hacks, including the 4-7-8 breathing method, make your room more conducive to sleep, and adjust your eating and lifestyle habits.
4-7-8 Breathing Method Definition: Involves inhaling for 4 seconds, holding it in for 7 seconds, and then exhaling for 8 seconds.
5. Your Appetite Changes
Appetite changes are also common during stressful times. Usually, only two things happen — it’s either you lose your appetite or find yourself stress-eating.
It comes as no surprise why stressed people either lose or gain weight dramatically. Stress influences your appetite as well, resulting in weight loss or weight gain.
What you can do: If you have lost or can’t control your appetite when you’re stressed, begin with identifying your stressor. Once you do, keep away from it.
You can also consider eating “mechanically” or on a schedule and make sure you’re getting enough rest. Having enough rest is important in combating the loss or increased appetite caused by stress.
RELATED: 13 Ways To Live A Stress-Free Life
6. You’re Experiencing Hair Loss
If you’re asking, “Can stress make you physically sick?” the answer is still yes. While it’s normal to lose a few strands of hair, stress can result in excessive hair loss as it attacks your hair follicles.
What you can do: Remain patient. Your hair starts growing back once you recover from stress.
7. You Have Acne
One of the most annoying effects of stress is a breakout. Stress also triggers the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which pushes your skin glands to produce excess oil.
The oil gets trapped inside the hair follicles along with dead skin cells and dirt. This is what triggers breakouts or pimples.
What you can do: You can use topical creams that have benzoyl peroxide. You can also dab your face with aloe after washing it to clear up your skin.
8. Your Back Hurts
The tension caused by stress also decreases the blood flow to the muscles, making them more prone to spasms. Back problems also worsen as people hunch their back or shoulders when they’re stressed, straining the muscles even more.
What you can do: Stretching exercises help to reduce back pain. Physical activities trigger the release of endorphins, improving overall health, and reducing stress levels.
9. You Can’t Concentrate
Your mind becomes fuzzy when you’re under a stressful situation. Too much cortisol can make focus and concentration harder to come by, which can also lead to anxiety and memory problems.
What you can do: Take deep breaths and relax until you gain your focus back. This is very helpful when you’re experiencing panic attacks.
10. Your Heart Rate Increases
High stress levels can also lead to increased heart rate and rapid heartbeat. The hormone adrenaline is released by the body when you’re stressed, speeding up your heart rate and increasing your blood pressure.
What you can do: Practice guided breathing techniques and try to remain calm. Take a walk, a relaxing shower, or meditative exercises such as yoga.
11. You Feel Depressed
Some studies suggest that chronic stress may also lead to depression.
What you can do: While medication also helps, you need to seek professional advice before popping any pills.
Stress can create a huge impact on your overall well-being. This is why it is important to take a break every now and then.
Meditative activities, like yoga, help release the tension building up in your body and ease your mind. Having a vent buddy also helps in releasing all your bottled up emotions that may affect your health as well.
In a nutshell, apart from having a well-balanced diet, a regular exercise routine and sleep quality keep away from stress, too. You can do this by choosing your battles wisely, managing your expectations, and keeping a positive mindset all the time.
You can try taking anti-stress supplements as well.
Have you experienced any of these symptoms during a stressful period? What did you do to overcome and recover from them? We’d love to hear and learn from your experiences, so share them with us!