Stress is at an all-time high. With all the lockdowns, face-coverings, job loss, school closures and lost time with loved ones, this is no surprise. It’s almost like “they” want us stressed out.
Experienced over long periods of time, stress can wreak havoc on our mind and body.
Since chronic stress has been linked to many illnesses from the development of diabetes to immune dysfunction to cancer, It is critical to identify the signs of stress in our lives so we can implement strategies to combat its effects.
Here are some of the top physical signs of stress to watch out for, plus 3 health hacks to fight back.
- Aches and pains– It is very common to feel some bodily discomfort while under long term stress. Some studies have found that chronic pain may be associated with higher levels of stress as well as increased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Those under stress also reported links to headaches as well.
- Skin problems– Stress can wreak havoc on our skin. Several studies have found higher levels of stress are associated with increased acne, dermatitis, and even aging as well as worsening of these conditions.
- Gut dysfunction– Stress is known to disrupt our digestive system in many ways, including changing our appetite. Research studies have found that long term stress may be associated with digestive issues like constipation, bloating and diarrhea, especially in those with digestive disorders such as IBS.
- Sleep disruptions– Sleep is so crucial for our health but most of us have experienced difficulty sleeping after a stressful day or week. Sleep can disrupt our sleep, leading to insomnia, fatigue and lower daytime energy. One study found that higher levels of work-related stress were associated with increased sleepiness and restlessness.
- Changes in mood– Research shows that chronic stress may lead to the development of depression. One study of women with major depression determined that the onset of depression was significantly associated with both acute and chronic stress. These findings suggest the importance of assessing chronic stress as part of the treatment of mood disorders.
What can we do to combat these signs of stress? Try implementing these simple tips:
- Deep breathing – This truly is one of the simplest, yet most powerful methods you can do right where you are today. Deep breathing exercises can help your nervous system switch into the parasympathetic mode, which activates the relaxation response. One of many different techniques, the 4-7-8 breathing technique, also known as “relaxing breath,” works by having the person breathe in for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. This breathing pattern aims to reduce anxiety and encourage higher quality relaxation and easier sleep.
- Movement– Any exercise that helps you get moving is beneficial. Try walking, yoga or even a simple stretching routine before bed to reduce anxiety and stress, improve sleep and increase endorphins. The benefits are strongest when you exercise regularly. In fact, research has documented that people who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who don’t.
- Essential Oils– Using natural scents in aromatherapy via essential oils can help reduce stress in a fun way. Try using relaxing oils such as lavender, bergamot, lemongrass, or orange oils. In one study, aromatherapy using a 3% lavender oil spray on clothing was found to be effective in decreasing stress for up to four days. Oils can be very therapeutic, but use them judiciously, as they are powerful substances.
- Journaling– Although some schools of thought advocate journaling what is bothering you to release any negativity, more promise can be found through deciding to “flip the switch” and write down what you are grateful for instead. Gratitude, especially written, is a powerful practice that has been demonstrated to help reduce both stress and anxiety and goes a long way in having a happier life!
- Laughter– Spending time with loved ones and friends, enjoying life and laughing are some of the best moments in life. Did you know that laughing relieves stress by boosting mood, relaxing your muscles and reducing your fight or flight response. In fact, it is nearly impossible to feel anxious or stressed while laughing. Laughter has also been linked to boosting immunity. Try watching a funny movie or play with children or pets!
- Supplementation– Poor nutrition is a root cause of anxiety in most people. Quality nutritional supplements can provide the support necessary for good physical and mental health. In addition to our Foundation 5, here are some ideas to rid the anxiety and achieve optimal mental health:
- Hydroxy Force – A hefty serving of B6, 9, and 12 in a formulation that works best for people of all genetic types.
- Max Mag – This form of magnesium gets into the brain and works magic. Magnesium is involved in hundreds of reactions in the body. So many are deficient.
- Daily Defense – Sometimes the body is overloaded with toxins and a good cleanse is just what the doctor ordered. Sometimes just a month of this product relieves symptoms of anxiety and stress. Often, people continue with Daily Defense for up to a year or longer.
- Relax– 1 scoop 2x per day in a tasty cherry flavored powder.
For more great tips, see our article on Natural Treatment Remedies for Anxiety and Stress.