by Melissa Chichester
Unfortunately, many people adapt to living in constant stressful conditions and don’t realize the impact it has on their health. It is also so serious that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has an entire category of conditions related to stress.
Since April is Stress Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time to evaluate how much stress you are experiencing. So what exactly is stress?
“Stress” can be described as tension you experience.
It can be physical or emotional strain on your body and mentality. When you feel threatened, your body responds. This is usually referred to as “flight-or-fight” mode. In other words, your body is ready to react to the threat. Being on edge all the time or being always ready to react can lead to chronic stress that interferes with your health.
Learning how to cope with stress can help you live a happy and positive life. However, you might not know if you are actually stressed or not. You may have learned to simply deal with daily discomforts that are related to stress. Here are 10 common physical and emotional signs of stress.
One of the most common signs of stress are headaches. Headaches can range from mild to intense and could be caused by stress. However, there are many other triggers for headaches, such as dehydration, so it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of a headache. If you have headaches daily, it is important to let your healthcare practitioner know.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, most adults have between two and three colds per year. If you have more colds than average, it may be the result of stress impacting immune health.
When you’re stressed and worried frequently, it may interfere with your sleep. Unfortunately, not sleeping also influences the impact of other signs of stress.
Sore muscles can be a sign of stress. This is especially true when you do not take time during the day to move or stretch your body. Exercise in the form of stretching can help improve physical signs of stress.
If your libido isn’t what it used to be, it could be a sign of stress. This is true for both men and women.
Anxiety is classified as overwhelming feelings of worry and dread. It is not considered the same as depression, but they may be linked.
Short tempers, anger, and irritability are all signs of stress. If you find yourself irritated by things that usually don’t bother you, this might be the result of stress.
Stress can lead to cognitive issues such as brain fog, memory issues, and trouble concentrating.
Happy one minute and filled with dread the next? Mood swings are another common sign of emotional stress.
Coping with stress can improve your well-being. It’s easiest to start with the basics. A nutritious diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, and high-quality proteins; regular exercise; getting plenty of sleep; and consuming enough water to avoid dehydration.
Certain supplements can also help support stress, such as adaptogenic herbs. Adaptogens are herbs that help your body adjust to occasional stress. Adaptogenic plants need to meet three criteria to be considered adaptogens:
• They are non-toxic to the person
• They help reduce occasional stress by helping the body adapt
• They positively impact the body
One of the most popular adaptogenic herbs is ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha is an herb that’s been used since ancient times by Indian shamans for its adaptogenic qualities.**
It supports a calm and relaxed mood and provides occasional stress support.** Ashwagandha also supports cognitive function.**
Another popular herb for stress support is St. John’s Wort.** It helps maintain a positive mood and can be used for occasional anxiety and everyday stress.**
Other formulas that support stress include:
Like any other wellness concern, it is extremely important to manage stress before it leads to other issues. If you feel that you cannot manage your stress or need to talk to someone about it, discuss it with your personal physician right away.