Physical Stress Symptoms

Do you often suffer from physical stress symptoms. It can seem impossible to relax the tense muscles or rein in the racing thoughts.

Often the physical symptoms - the racing heart rate and rapid breathing - can increase your worry and cause even more stress!

What's more, some of the symptoms of stress can go unnoticed for years. This is a serious problem as stress can impact on your health and lead to stress-related illness.

Knowing what your physical signs of stress is one of the first steps to dealing with stress.

Here we provide you with a number of physical effects of stress that impact your mind and body.

Stress is a fact of life but it does not have to be a way of life!

Common Physical Stress Symptoms

When stressed your body reacts by activating the stress response.

Stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are released into your blood stream.

These stress hormones prepare your body to fight or flee from the stress and cause a number of common signs of stress.

Some of the physical stress symptoms you may notice immediately while others may go unnoticed.

Below are some of the physical stress symptoms. Please note that these can also be caused by other disorders and illnesses. Please consult your local health professional about any of these physical stress symptoms.

Increase heart rate and blood pressure. In anticipation of fighting or fleeing from the source of stress the heart pumps more blood around the body. The stress hormones also constrict the blood vessels which cause a spike in high blood pressure.

Excess muscle tension. When stressed your muscles tense in preparation for fight or flight from the cause of stress.

This is probably one of the commonest physical stress symtpoms.

After a particularly stressful day that you may notice tension in your shoulders, neck, or scalp. This can be one cause a tension headache.

Increased sweating. When stressed your body turns on its cooling system in anticipation to fight or flee from the perceived source of stress.

You may notice sweaty palms or increased sweating in general. This increased skin conductance is the basis of lie detector tests and is used in biofeedback techniques for stress relief.

Drop in temperature. The extremities of your body, such as your hands and feet, drop in temperature. As blood is shunted to large muscle groups the extremities cool down slightly.

This drop in temperature is what thermal biofeedback techniques pick up monitoring the effects of stress on the body.

Increased GI sensitivity Gastrointestinal disorders are responsible for filling more hospital beds in the country than any other disorders! Stress impacts GI disorders.

The relationship between GI disorders and stress is complex with stress influencing the peristaltic rhythm, altering the contraction of the muscles leading to the gut, and the activity and acidity of the stomach lining.

Stress not only influences GI sensitivity but also irritable bowel syndrome.

Susceptibility to cold or flu. When stressed, especially for long periods of stress, your body's immune system is compromised. You may notice that you get sick after prolonged periods of stress or that you feel fatigued and listless.

Reduced sex drive. Stress increases fatigue and lowers your libido. It can also lead to problems in bed.

Skin problems. Skin responds to stress with changes in electrical current and temperature. Prolonged stress changes the skin’s activity and can lead to skin conditions such as eczema, skin lesions that are characterized by redness, swelling, and fluid build-up. Can stress cause hives is another common question.

Aches and pain. Stress can result in increased aches and pains. Lower back pain can be a common symptom of stress. But stress also has a psychological impact and increases the perception of pain. This is explained through the Gate Control Theory of Pain.

Sleep disturbances. With your mind on a merry-go-round of thoughts and worries it can be difficult to get to sleep.

When stress affects sleep an effective two pronged attack is needed.

First it is important to identify stress and use stress reducers to take control of stress.

Second, by improving bed routines and overall sleep hygiene you create an atmosphere for getting a better night’s sleep. These natural sleep aids give you the opportunity to get a better night’s sleep.

Weight changes. There has been recent research to highlight that stress and the release of the stress hormone cortisol increases fat around that stomach area. The stress weight gain, not to mention reaching for the comfort foods in the face of stress, can then lead to more stress!

Stress does not just result in physical effects of stress. There are also a number of emotional effects of stress and changes in behavior which further increase stress.

For example, people who suffer stress are less likely to eat well, more likely to consume more alcohol or smoke more cigarettes.

These behavioral symptoms of stress can further increase stress.

The physical symptoms of stress can impact your life and be a cause of stress related illnesses.

This makes dealing with stress important for you and your health.

To reduce the physical symptoms of stress it is important to find ways to manage stress.

Here we provide a free stress management course that is delivered to you Inbox. This stress management course gives you the tools to take control of stress and improve your overall health.

Stress Management E-Course

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.

Please enter the word that you see below.


Search here for other physical effects of stress

Related stress management articles

stress depression Stress Depression

Stress and Depression...What's the Connection?

sleep disorders Sleep Disorders

Stress and Insomnia

More stress management articles

Stress and Chest Pain: Chest Pain Stress and What to Do About It.

Teen Depression: Understanding Teenage Depression.

Stress and Anxiety: The Difference Between Stress and Anxiety

Click here to return from stress symptoms to symptoms of stress

Click here to return from stress symptoms to the stress management homepage

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.