Has work become so unbearable due to all the overtime hours that you barely have time for a social life? Do you and your partner argue almost every day about the smallest things? Are you behind on your credit card payments and have more bills to pay soon?
Stress is that feeling of pressure and strain that can be caused by a wide variety of factors, including the responsibilities asked of you at your job, the homework and deadlines in school, the time and attention your family needs from you, the bills you have to pay, the issues and conflicts in your relationships, and the status of your health.
If your stress levels get too high, it can be detrimental to your overall health and wellbeing. The following are some common side effects of stress:
Stress can be a major distraction to your usual routine. If you are stressed, you might not be able to do and finish your tasks at work or in school. You might find your mind wandering, thinking about your problems non-stop.
Headaches are a common thing if you are experiencing high levels of stress. Your head might feel like exploding, as the throbbing can get too intense and painful. These headaches might last for a few minutes to several hours, and occur multiple times a day.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that makes falling asleep or staying asleep difficult. It can happen to you if you are constantly stressed, as your brain is filled with negative thoughts and your muscles are tensed. It can be a short-term problem, if you get medical help for your stress problems, but can be a long-term one too, lasting over a month, if your stress levels stay high for a long time.
If your stress is due to unfortunate events happening in your life, such as getting fired from a job, being unemployed for longer than you would want, receiving failing grades in school, breaking up with your special someone, or death of a loved one, having suicidal thoughts is not unusual.
Some people experience breathing issues, such as breathing faster than normal or running out of breath, when they are stressed. This is because when you are stressed, your muscles, including the ones found in your respiratory system, get too tensed, making you breathe more rapidly or have trouble breathing properly.
Increased frustration, anger, and irritability
Stress can cause major changes in your mood and behavior. It can make you easily frustrated, annoyed, angry, or irritated. Even if a certain situation is not really a big deal, you might find yourself giving a big negative reaction as a result of being under severe stress.
People who are under a lot of stress might not want to be around other people. They might isolate themselves, and spend much more time on their own. They might feel that being around their families or friends will not solve their problems and is just a complete waste of time.
Increased alcohol intake, smoking, or drug use
Many people who are stressed rely on alcohol, smoking, or drugs to get their minds away from their problems and reduce the strain and pressure that they feel. However, their problems will not be resolved using these substances, as these things are highly addictive and increase their risk of other diseases and health problems, only exacerbating their conditions.
A decrease in energy levels is typical among highly stressed people. Every morning, they find it hard to get up and do their usual routine. They lose the motivation to exercise or do other physical activities and prefer to just sit or sleep.
Loss or increase in appetite
Being so stressed can make you eat more or eat less. If your high stress levels are making you eat more, you are very likely to gain weight or become obese, which increases your odds of high blood pressure, diabetes, and other health problems. If your high stress levels are making you eat less, you will lose weight, and develop nutrient deficiencies and other health problems.
Reduced productivity or efficiency at work or in school
Because stress can impair your focus, lower your energy levels, and make you more prone to sicknesses, you will not be able to be as productive or efficient when it comes to carrying out your tasks at work or in school. You will produce work that is low quality or get failing marks.
Tips to manage stress
It is important that you act as soon as possible to manage your stress. The following are recommended strategies that can help lower your stress levels:
Exercise on a regular basis
Being physically active is greatly beneficial to your health. It not only can reduce your stress levels, but it can also strengthen your bones and muscles, improve your vital organ function, and enhance your immunity.
Spend time with your family and friends
Meeting up with your family or friends for dinner or spending a weekend with them a few times a month can do wonders for your stress levels. These people in your lives that make you feel appreciated and loved can increase the levels of the positive feelings in you, and fight off the stress.
Get enough sleep
If your stress is caused by a lack of sleep, you should start getting sufficient sleep now. Health professionals advise that 7 to 8 hours of sleep is the ideal amount of sleep for adults to reduce the risk of health problems.
Learn breathing techniques, meditation, yoga, etc.
These are techniques that can help you calm your nerves, muscles, and brain when you are stressed. Every time you start breathing fast or feeling muscle pains because of a stressful situation, you can use them and experience relief.
Find a hobby
A lot of people who are highly stressed spend most of their time too deep in their minds, with all their problems and the negativity. If you have a hobby, such as a sport, gardening, or reading, you can distract your mind, and be productive.