Despite all the technology we have and rely on, or maybe partly because of it, the modern world is full of very difficult challenges nearly every day of our lives. Stress can help us conquer those challenges by motivating us, heightening our awareness and concentration, and even improving our memory.
But while it’s a necessary key to survival, stress is also uncomfortable and can lead to a host of physical and mental health problems.
Here’s When Stress Starts Taking A Toll
When You Can’t Concentrate
The right amount of stress can boost your concentration. Too much stress or not handling it well may make you feel overwhelmed and unable to think at all.
When You Have More Aches and Pains
Stress can lead to backaches, headaches, and an overall achy feeling. It can also exacerbate conditions you already have, like arthritis. Notice whether your pain gets worse when you’re overly stressed.
When Your Immune System Weakens
If you find you’re getting a lot of colds and infections when you’re stressed, it might be that the stress is weakening your immune system. Your primary care doctor may be able to help you in the short term, but for an enduring solution, you need help with your mental health.
When You Can’t Sleep
Losing too much sleep can wreck your physical and mental health. When you’re losing sleep because you’re stressed, the best thing you can do is to approach it from a mental health standpoint.
When It Affects Your Appetite
Some people eat when they’re stressed. Others can’t stand the sight of food. Whether your appetite goes up or down when you’re under too much pressure, it’s a sign that you need to take steps to handle your stress more effectively.
When It Makes You Feel Irritable and Angry
You may notice that when you’re facing difficult challenges at work, you become irritable and quick to anger. It’s easy to just give yourself a pass because, after all, you’re under a lot of pressure. You and everyone around you will fare better if you deal with the stress behind the feelings.
When It Brings on Anxiety
Stress often leads to anxiety that is sometimes so severe that you avoid the situation that’s causing you stress. If you avoid parts of your work or people you usually enjoy spending time with, your world can become very small very fast. You feel miserable, and the anxiety can lead to even greater mental health problems.
What You Can Do
There are several things you need to be doing to manage your stress. Here is a list of some things that might help.
- Stay alert to signs that you’re over-stressed.
- Recognize the situations that bring on the feeling of stress.
- Get some exercise.
- Spend time in nature.
- Meditate, practice deep breathing, or do systematic muscle relaxation exercises.
- Learn time management techniques.
- Cut down on caffeine and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Talk to a friend.
If the stress in your life is just too hard to bear, you can get help from a mental health professional. Then, you can develop better thought patterns and learn even more techniques to bring your stress reactions under control.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.