Why You Should Know Your “Stress Signs”
Do you ever feel like your body is telling you that you’re stressed even though you’re convinced that you don’t “feel” stressed? Have you ever gone on vacation and only then realized that you were more stressed before you left than you realized (or were willing to admit)?
Stress is a sneaky thing. We can get so used to it that it becomes our new normal and we don’t even see it in ourselves anymore. While it’s important to not get stressed about being stressed (as was beautifully discussed in this viral TedTalk), I don’t believe that means we should stop managing stress. Knowing your “stress signs” is a valuable way to determine if you need to make some changes in your life to reduce stress. It’s especially useful if you find that you have a hard time determining if you are stressed or not.
Some people are very tapped into what their body does when they are stressed. But many people aren’t aware of how stress uniquely affects their bodies. Here are the most common connections between stress and physical symptoms that I see in my practice:
Digestion go haywire – constipation, diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, nausea
Skin reactions – eczema or psoriasis flair ups, acne, hives
Wonky periods – missed periods, irregular period, cramps, heavy flow, worsened PMS
Infections and inflammation – sties, frequent colds, shingles outbreaks, canker sores
Pain – migraines, tension headaches, tight and sore muscles
Mental/ emotional – feeling rush and pressed for time, feeling “scattered”, irritability
This is not to say that stress is the cause of these symptoms, but many people find that they tend to experience these symptoms more during stressful periods and that reducing stress helps to reduce these symptoms.
Take some time to study your stress signs so you can get a better sense of when your body might be telling you that it needs some stress management. If you pick up on these signs early enough you can prevent them from getting out of hand.
My practice focuses heavily on mental health, especially anxiety. But I also see many patients who don’t have a diagnosis of anxiety but need support for coping with stress better. While I can’t take away the sources of your stress (care-giving, work deadlines, commuting, interpersonal issues etc.), I can help you cope with those stressors better so they don’t feel like so much of a weight on your mind or body.
Dr. Samantha Dass is currently a naturopathic doctor working at Holland Landing Health Centre in East Gwillimbury, Ontario, which services Holland Landing, Newmarket, Aurora, Keswick and Bradford areas. If you are interested in naturopathic services please contact Holland Landing Health Centre at 905-853-7900 or via e-mail at [email protected]