Stress: Identifying the physical symptoms

It would be fair to say that stress and other mental health conditions have finally been thrust into the public spotlight. While this should be applauded, this should have been the case many years ago. 

A quick check on a major health insurance website says it all; they take these conditions extremely seriously. Mental health needs to be tackled as early as possible due to the knock-on effects. 

However, while many people look for those psychological signs, some physical ones are more obvious. Today, we’ll look at some of these to make your mental health situation clearer.

Fluctuations in your weight

One of the most common physical symptoms of stress is fluctuations in your weight. If you find that your weight is changing and can’t explain why, stress could be the root cause.

There are a few different medical reasons behind these fluctuations. One of them is that stress can lead to changes in your appetite, either increasing or decreasing it. This means that you might not be eating as much as normal, leading to weight loss. On the other hand, some people turn to food to comfort themselves when they feel stressed, leading to weight gain.

Another reason is that stress can lead to changes in your metabolism, which is the rate at which your body burns calories. When you’re stressed, your body goes into ‘fight or flight’ mode, which means it starts to burn calories faster. This can lead to weight loss, as your body uses more energy than it’s taking in.

Finally, stress can also lead to changes in your gut bacteria. This can lead to indigestion and bloating, making you feel heavier even if you’re not carrying any extra weight.

Aches and pains

Another common physical symptom of stress is aches and pains. This can manifest itself in several ways, from headaches and migraines to back pain and muscle aches. Stress can also cause you to feel pain more acutely than usual, as it causes your body to tense up.

There are a few different medical reasons why stress can cause these aches, with one relating to posture. When you’re stressed, you might be hunched over or clenching your jaw, leading to muscle pain. Another reason is that stress can lead to inflammation, which can cause pain and swelling.

Difficulty sleeping

Stress could also be blamed if you’ve had difficulty sleeping over a long period. Whether it’s insomnia, nightmares or just not feeling properly rested in the morning, it all counts.

So, why does this happen? One of the main reasons is that stress can lead to changes in your hormones. When you’re stressed, your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone is designed to help you deal with stressful situations, but it can also make it difficult to sleep. It does this by making you more alert, making it harder to fall asleep.

Of course, there can be umpteen causes behind each of the above issues, but if you are feeling the mental strain – there’s a very good chance that stress can be causing all of them.