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Eric First, M.D., FAIS and Matthew Roberts, Ph.D.
The term “stress” can refer to a wide array of physical and mental symptoms. Everyone has felt intense stress at some point in their lives, and for some, it’s a normal part of everyday life. Stress is a holistic experience – it affects both your body and your mind. It is a natural physiologic response to protect us from potential threats, similar to the pain response. It is often referred to as the “fight or flight response.” If the stressor persists, you may be dealing with high levels of stress, or chronic stress, where you may be experiencing more persistent symptoms.
There’s a fine line between stress and anxiety. Both are emotional responses, but stress is typically caused by an external trigger. The trigger can be short-term, such as a work deadline or a fight with a loved one or long-term, such as being unable to work, discrimination, or chronic illness. People under stress experience mental and physical symptoms, such as irritability, anger, fatigue, muscle pain, digestive troubles, and difficulty sleeping.
Anxiety, on the other hand, is defined by persistent, excessive worries (internalizing the external stressor) that don’t go away even in the absence of a stressor. Acute or occasional episodes of anxiety lead to a nearly identical set of symptoms as stress: insomnia, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, muscle tension, and irritability.
Both mild stress and mild anxiety respond well to similar coping mechanisms. Chronic anxiety disorders however, can lead to panic attacks and other physical and mental conditions that should be treated by a mental health professional.
In this post, we’ll be discussing the many symptoms of stress and anxiety. If you are regularly experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s a great idea to talk to a doctor or mental health professional as soon as possible.
Then, we’ll discuss the R3SET method of combating stress and occasional episodes of anxiety at the end of this post.
How Stress Affects You
The physical symptoms of stress can affect three key aspects of your body – your endocrine system, your nervous system, and your immune system. The release of hormones like norepinephrine, epinephrine (formerly known as; noradrenaline, adrenaline).
when your body is ] experiencing stress, can raise your heart rate creating heart palpitations and high blood pressure, which can lead to serious health problems in the long run. These hormones are generated by your endocrine system.
In addition, stress can lead to an imbalance in your nervous system, which can make you feel mentally and emotionally on edge. Imbalances in your nervous system can create a whole-body response that often feels more emotional than physical.
Furthermore, when you are stressed, your immune system can become compromised. This is why heightened stress is often linked to getting sick more often.
Symptom #1: Fatigue
For many people dealing with chronic stress and anxiety, feeling tired throughout the day is a common occurrence. The lack of energy that stress often causes can be one of its most crippling symptoms, making it hard to get out of bed and face each new day.
There are several ways that stress and anxiety can leave you in a vicious cycle of exhaustion:
If you are dealing with fatigue that appears to be primarily stress-related, make sure to talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
Symptom #2: Irritability
One of the most common symptoms of stress and anxiety are frequent irritability, feeling on edge, and experiencing restlessness.
If your mind is stuck in a spiral of swirling what-ifs, worst-case scenarios, and other anxious thoughts, you can quickly find yourself snapping at your friends, family, and coworkers.
This is one of the biggest reasons why it’s so important to manage your stress in healthy, constructive ways. If you don’t, it can start becoming a cause of major tension between you and the people you love.
If you’re feeling irritable due to stress, one of the best remedies is exercise. Moving your body releases hormones called endorphins. Endorphins help you to feel relaxed, content, and fulfilled, and they can play a key role in calming you down if stress is making you feel wound up.
Whenever your stress and anxiety have built up and are making you feel overwhelmed and agitated, exercising is a great move.
In addition, another excellent strategy for dealing with stress-induced irritability is meditation. Meditating and practicing mindfulness helps you get in control of your emotions, which often results in reduced stress.
If you need to get some of that aggravation processed, channeling into a good habit like mindfulness and meditation, or even yoga is a great idea.
Symptom #3: Loss of Appetite (or “Stress Eating”)
You’re probably familiar with the term “eating your feelings.” This expression is commonly used in reference to stress-induced snacking, something many people engage in when they feel overwhelmed.
Stress and anxiety can sometimes masquerade as hunger. People with high amounts of stress can experience an appetite change making it difficult to tell where that “pit in your stomach” feeling is coming from.
In addition, stress can also have the opposite effect in some cases, making you feel too overwhelmed and anxious to eat. While some people may find that stressful circumstances lead them to eat more, others might experience nausea from having a nervous stomach when life starts to get too hectic.
If your weight is constantly fluctuating, there may be a connection between these frequent changes and the amount of stress in your life. In addition, if you find that stressful circumstances tend to push you towards food or away from food, it may be helpful to talk to a therapist or nutritionist.
A mental health professional or dietician can help you make a game plan for how to relate to food when you are feeling stressed and anxious.
Symptom #4: Nervous Behaviors
If you are under constant stress, you might develop what is often referred to as a nervous habit. These habits include fidgeting, nail biting, pacing, or other compulsive behaviors that switch on when you feel anxious and overwhelmed. While these behaviors are not always indicative that you are stressed out, there is often a link between such habits and stressful circumstances.
Nervous habits can be tough to break. At first, you might not even notice that you are biting your nails or constantly fidgeting – these behaviors tend to be hard to spot. It’s often the friends and family members of people with nervous habits that initially identify these behaviors.
If you are struggling to stop biting your nails, fidgeting, pacing, or engaging in other compulsive, nervous behaviors, it may be helpful to consult a doctor or therapist. These habits can be tough to break, but the sooner you start working to get your nervous tic under control, the better – this type of habit can have a negative impact on your life in the long run.
Other Common Stress Symptoms
There are numerous other symptoms linked with stress and anxiety, including:
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talking to your doctor is a great move. Don’t let stress rule your life – instead, get the help that you need so that you can make positive changes to your life and leave stress in the dust.
Feeling Stressed Out? Try R3SET
At R3SET, we know all too well how stress can negatively impact your life. That’s why we’re devoted to helping you conquer stress with natural stress-fighting ingredients that can help you feel a little more chill in the middle of a hectic day.
Our Calm and Unwind supplements are specially formulated to provide you with a daytime and nighttime barrier against the negative impact of stress. These simple supplements are easy to take, and they include botanical ingredients derived from Nature’s Medicine Cabinet©!
Our blend of stress-fighters includes GABA, passionflower, lemon balm, chamomile, L-Theanine, and a host of other beneficial natural ingredients, uniquely formulated for the day (CALM) and night (UNWIND).
To learn more about our formula and the R3SET method of dealing with stress, make sure to visit our Stress 101 page, as well as the official R3SET blog. There, you’ll find plenty of helpful information about how R3SET’s supplements can help you get stress under control.
Don’t let stress rule your life – conquer it with R3SET. To visit our shop, click here.
* *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease