From Yahoo News:
The human body is astonishing. Not only can it withstand a great deal of pain, heal itself, and produce millions of new cells each day, but it can also detect when a person is in danger. It can particularly detect when a person is in danger of getting too stressed.
Nearly 80 percent of Americans live with some level of stress, a 2017 Gallup poll showed. In the poll, 44 percent of respondents said they frequently encounter stress, another 35 percent said they sometimes encounter stress, and just 17 percent responded that they rarely feel stressed. A mere 4 percent were left over to say they never experience stress (how lucky for them).
All that stress manifests in both physical and emotional signs. Here are just a few of the ways your body may exhibit the symptoms of stress.
1. That headache just won’t go away.
Have throbbing pain in your head all day? It could be a stress-induced headache or migraine. “Headaches are more likely to occur when you’re stressed,” the Mayo Clinicexplained. “Stress is a common trigger of tension-type headaches and migraine, and can trigger other types of headaches or make them worse.”
What can you do about them? Not much, according to the Mayo Clinic, other than live a less stressful life. But, if your headache is sudden, severe, accompanied by a fever or double vision, or is experienced after a head injury, head to the hospital immediately.
2. Your digestive system feels off.
A person’s belly may be one of the first places to experience the symptoms of stress or anxiety. “The brain has a direct effect on the stomach and intestines,” Harvard Health explained. It noted that even when a person merely thinks about food, his or her stomach will release acids in preparation of a meal.
This brain-to-stomach connection is a two-way street that can cause a vicious cycle of stress-related effects. According to Harvard Health, “A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut.” And, in return, stress can cause an increase in stomach acids, thus causing digestive issues like an ulcer. Symptoms of a stress—or peptic—ulcer include burning pain in the stomach, nausea, and bloating.
3. The thirst is real.
Feeling stressed out? The cure may be drinking a glass of water. Seriously, dehydration can cause your body to not function at its best, which can lead to stress.
“Studies have shown that being just half a liter dehydrated can increase your cortisol levels,” Amanda Carlson, RD, director of performance nutrition at Athletes’ Performance,told WebMD. “Cortisol is one of those stress hormones. Staying in a good hydrated status can keep your stress levels down. When you don’t give your body the fluids it needs, you’re putting stress on it, and it’s going to respond to that.”
And all those hormones, WebMD explained, could lead to adrenal fatigue, which again, will have you running toward the nearest water cooler thanks to an unwavering feeling of dehydration.
4. Your sleep schedule is wildly unpredictable (and you’re having weird dreams).
Stress can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. “Too much stress can cause you to have a bad sleep, leading to mental and physical health issues which can, in turn, cause stress in daily life, leading to poor sleep at night,” the American Institute of Stress explained.
Remember those stress hormones mentioned above? Those same hormones can cause your body to stay awake as it thinks it’s now in fight or flight mode. And because your body can never quiet down, neither can your mind. On top of that, your daytime stress could be causing some odd dreams as well.
“When people had these really frustrating, upsetting experiences in their everyday [lives], they had dreams where they felt stressed, sad or frustrated,” Netta Weinstein, a senior lecturer in social and environmental psychology at Cardiff University, and lead author of a study on stress and dreams, told Live Science. As she noted, stress can even cause very specific dream scenarios.
“The link between the experiences and the content of the dreams was less robust,” Weinstein explained. “But we found some evidence that [that dreams about] falling, being attacked by someone, being locked up or trying repeatedly to do something and failing at it could be linked to a frustrating experience during the day.”