physical symptoms of stress

Physical Symptoms of Stress – What are they?

If you are suffering from stress then you may be well aware of the psychological toll that it can take on your mental health. But how many of you are aware of the physical symptoms of stress? These are very real but in many cases, it can be hard to recognise that what you are feeling or seeing physically might be caused by your stress levels.

I wanted to write about the most common physical symptoms of stress so that you can identify possible reasons why you might be experiencing strange sensations or feelings in your body. Remember that it is important not to self-diagnose if you experience any of these but to visit a doctor for a formal diagnosis.

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Stress Symptoms Headaches

This is absolutely one of the biggest physical symptoms of stress that I see in my clients. These could be tension headaches or migraines but they tend to be persistent and don’t always respond to medication.

Stress causes headaches for a number of reasons. Firstly when you are stressed or anxious you tend to tense your muscles. When these muscles are continually tightened they can start to cause headaches. Sometimes the headache is from a referred pain. So, in other words, you may have tight muscles in your upper back and shoulders but that is impacting blood flow or nerves that run into the head.

Reducing stress or resolving underlying anxiety can make a difference to these headaches. In addition, you may need to work on your posture, get good sleep and stay hydrated. If you practice deep relaxation hypnosis it can help relieve tension in the neck and shoulders.

Stress Symptoms Stomach Pain

Anxiety and stress can have a direct impact on the gut and digestive systems causing pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhoea. If you have had a diagnosis of IBS from your doctor then stress could well be behind your particular problems.

In fact, the link between IBS and stress is now so well recognised that gut-directed therapy is now being offered in certain parts of the NHS. IBS hypnotherapy has been shown to be effective for relieving these stomach problems. Regular practice of deep relaxation hypnosis is recommended as one way of helping to provide food allergies or intolerances have been ruled out.

It is also worth noting that stress can also have an impact on stomach ulcers which also cause pain. Your doctor will be able to run tests to see if this problem can be helped with medication.

Stress Symptoms Chest Pain

Physical symptoms of stress such as chest pain always need to be discussed with your GP. This is because stress can also create more serious heart problems over time which need professional medical help.

If however, your doctor has decided that your chest pain is caused by stress then it is likely that muscle tension is once again behind the problem. Our muscles in our body extend across the chest and back area. When they are tight they can cause considerable pain.

The solution to resolving chest pain caused by stress is firstly finding ways to relax and be calmer but secondly addressing the muscle tension itself. Certain painkillers are able to relieve inflammation or you could go and see a physiotherapist or osteopath to help manipulate any muscle spasms.

These pains can return if you allow too much stress back into your life and don’t do the exercises recommended by these professionals to relax the muscles. The problem can be managed but you will need to be involved in making lifestyle changes to help.

Dizziness and Stress

If you are feeling stressed and experience dizziness there may be a number of reasons for your problem. Firstly when you are stressed you are more likely to breathe faster and take shallower breaths. When you do this it changes the oxygen/carbon dioxide link and can create dizziness.

Secondly, if you are stressed and anxious your body will produce hormones such as adrenaline to put you into fight or flight mode. When these hormones take effect they also have an impact on your breathing.

Simple anxiety reduction and breathing techniques can make a big difference and reduce the dizzy feelings.

Nausea and Stress

If you have experienced nausea when you are feeling stressed or anxious you are not alone. Nausea is also caused by the fight or flight mode that adrenaline creates. When we are ready to flee or fight our digestion systems are partially shut down because they are not needed at that moment. Nausea will be a side effect for a certain percentage of people when this kicks in.

Once again managing stress so that the adrenaline is not needed can make a huge difference in how you feel. By lowering stress levels your body’s digestive system doesn’t keep on getting interrupted which will change the way you feel.

Stress Symptoms Rash

Have you heard of a stress rash or hives? When you are stressed your body causes changes to the hormones in your body. These chemical changes can swell blood vessels and allow welts to form on any form of your body. These red raised patches can be alarming but in most cases, they resolve themselves within 24 hours.

Stress can also exacerbate existing skin conditions such as eczema or dermatitis. Once again managing your stress can make dramatic changes to these flare-ups. Antihistamines can help with any itching and help reduce these rashes also your doctor may prescribe medication that can help if you are unable to manage the problem on your own.

Stress Symptoms in Women

There are some physical symptoms of stress that are more unique to women. For example, women are more prone to stress-related weight gain and obesity. Food becomes a way of comforting yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed. Breaking that relationship with therapy for weight loss can make a difference that dieting can’t always help.

Stress can also have an impact on the reproductive system with women finding it harder to become pregnant when they are suffering from stress. Fertility hypnosis, for example, has been shown to increase the chances of pregnancy simply by teaching women to relax. Also, stress can impact your periods and cause premenstrual syndrome.

Stress Symptoms in Men

A unique physical symptom of stress that is found in men and not in women is erectile dysfunction. The inability to get an erection can be caused by stress, anxiety or due to the side effects of coping mechanisms for these problems. For example, a man may drink more to manage stress which has an impact on their ability to perform in bed.

Learning to manage stress is important but food or alcohol is not the way to do it. Both of these coping mechanisms are side effects that in themselves create even more stress in the long run. Exercise, walking, distraction activities or talking therapy will be far more helpful in the long term.

Stress Management Therapy Online

If you have been unable to manage your stress levels and are experiencing problems coping physically and emotionally them getting help from a professional is important. Physical symptoms of stress can be helped with a short course in stress management therapy.

Stress management therapy helps you to address how you are feeling psychologically and gives you coping mechanisms to help create positive change. During my stress management programs, I use a combination of hypnotherapy, NLP and coaching methodologies to help my clients.

Managing stress can help you not only physically but can change your whole mood. Anxiety and depression can be reduced and my clients report that they sleep better and have more energy. Resolve to manage your stress levels before they impact your physical and emotional health. Simply fill out the form below to get more details of my online stress management therapy.

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Martina McKeough
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Physical Symptoms of Stress - What are They?
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Physical Symptoms of Stress - What are They?
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Discover the major physical symptoms of stress and why stress management therapy techniques can make a significant impact on your physical and mental health.
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Rewire The Mind
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