Years ago, there was a fitness guru who coined the phrase, it's the fat that's making you fat.
I'd like to coin the phrase, it's the stress that's making you unhappy.
Here's the thing, we've talked about stress, but the truth is, most of us truly feel powerless to the stress we feel on a daily basis. We convince ourselves that stress is a natural part of life, which simply can't be avoided, so we've just got to learn to live with it.
There can be some truth to that of course, but for the most part, stress is something that is well within out control. It may mean making some tough decisions, but in the long run if you're overly stressed, no amount of happy thoughts will truly give you the peace you're longing for. If you're experiencing these stressful symptoms, it's time to take action.
Unexplained Aches And Pain About The Body
A little pain here and there is normal, and should be nothing to get worried over; but it can spell a worrying trend when it occurs too often. And this is the case with being overly stressed all the time. Muscular pains most commonly occur around the back, neck or shoulder areas, and may be attributed to poor sleep patterns, although it is not always the case. Medication to treat the pain many only yield temporary relief, and should not be relied upon as a long term solution.
Frequent Colds And Infections
One thing associated with high stress levels is the negative effect on immunity. Cortisol suppresses the immune system and leaves the body wide open to infection. This is especially troublesome during flu season, and necessitates that extra precautions be takes (such as increasing anti-oxidant food consumption).
Poor Sleep Patterns
Insomnia is usually one of the first signs to appear when you are over-stressed, as cortisol does not work by itself. In fact, it recruits the neurochemicals adrenalin and noradrenalin, which enhance awareness, and energy levels.
This is an important function in the mornings when you need that “get up and go” boost, but not at night when you should be unwinding. Use of heavy stimulant based supplements (such as with caffeine) too late at night will cause this to occur.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure involves multiple pathways all experiencing dysfunction for its development, with cortisol happy to oblige. High blood pressure in this case is precipitated by increases retention of water (which increases blood volume), faster heart rate, and blood vessel constriction. All these factors increase blood pressure, so care needs to be taken to manage cortisol and stress levels.
Frequent Outbursts Or Mood Swings
It can be hard to maintain a level head when stress levels are high, causing you to lash out to anyone who seemingly irritates you. This is not normal behavior, especially if the individual was previously very level headed. If it does occur, it may be best to reduce work load, and spend more time with family and loved ones in a bid to relax.
If you find yourself experiencing one or more of the symptoms above with increasing frequency, it is time to take a step back from the burden you have placed on your shoulder. Sometimes, a short vacation, weekend getaway or just a simple trek in the great outdoors can do wonders for your wellbeing.