Body Language: Some Ways Stress Manifests in Your Body

Stressed businesswoman

Did you know that there are good sides to stress? It gets the blood flowing to your brain, making it easier to focus on your tasks. A little stress can also motivate you to reach your goals. It’s also the warning system that triggers your fight-or-flight response, which heightens your sensory sensitivity.

However, there’s a reason—or ten—why stress is, more often than not, perceived negatively. When stress becomes a chronic occurrence, it becomes detrimental to your mental and physical wellbeing. While the negative effects of stress on mental health are well-documented, the physical manifestations need to be discussed more thoroughly.

If you’re suffering from any of the following, it might be your body’s way of telling you minimize stress and to slow down.

1. Stress can throw off a woman’s menstrual cycle

For the ladies reading, have you ever been under so much stress you didn’t get your period when you were supposed to? That may be because of the impact of stress on your hormones. Since hormonal levels are involved in maintaining a normal menstrual flow, changes in hormones due to stress may lead to the delay of your menstruation.

One way to help your body revert to a normal menstrual period is by finding ways to reduce your stress levels as much as possible. This can be through unwinding and relaxing or by taking anti-anxiety medication.

2. Stress can cause tension headaches

Your shoulders, head, and jaw make up what doctors call the “tension triangle.” When you’re stressed, these parts of your body tend to stiffen. Tightness in the neck and jaw often leads to tension headaches and knots in your neck and shoulders. Stress also makes some people grind their teeth, which contributes to TMJ disorder.

For tension headaches, applying a heating pad or an ice pack to your head for 5 to 10 minutes several times a day works to relieve the condition. You may also take a hot bath or shower to relax your tense muscles. But for TMJ, orthodontic treatment, like braces, might be necessary. Fortunately, there are now many dental labs where dentists send digital imprints of your mouth so you can have customized braces.

3. Stress can exacerbate your skin problems

Skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis are difficult enough to deal with, and stress exacerbates these conditions.

When you experience a stressful situation, the body increases its production of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Too much of the latter can suppress the immune system, which then causes inflammation in the skin. So, your skin conditions flare up.

4. Stress can result in digestive issues

man having a digestive problem

It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in physiology to know that stress can be hard on the stomach. The sinking feeling in your gut when you’re under stress can lead to actual pain, like diarrhea and constipation. Stress also slows the production of prostaglandins, which protect your stomach from the effects of acid. This may lead to simple discomfort or more frequent instances of acid reflux.

Everyone experiences stress at some point in their life, but it doesn’t mean you have to suffer more because of it. When your body shows the symptoms stated above, it might be high time for you to unwind, de-stress, and relax.