woman with long hair holding her head in pain

Everyone’s health is affected by the stressful, fast-paced challenges of living in this modern world. Identifying areas in your life that cause stress and discovering ways to control it may lead you to a happier, healthier, and more satisfying way of living.

When confronted with stress, our nervous systems release adrenaline, cortisol, and other hormones. Our hearts beat rapidly, blood pressure goes up, muscles tighten, and senses become extraordinarily sharp when these hormones flood our bloodstreams. Physical changes like these can increase our strength, make our response time faster, allow us to focus on the perceived danger, or be detrimental to our health.

Woman sitting on ground and holding her head in pain

Unfortunately, our bodies don’t distinguish between physical or emotional threats very well. An argument with a loved one will give the same bodily response as a burglar entering your home. Also, the more our stress system is activated, the harder it is to shut off.

We can become so used to being under stress that we don’t notice when we are being adversely affected. Becoming aware of the signs that our bodies are being triggered and controlling those situations better can enhance our overall health and wellbeing.

Physical Symptoms

The most common physical symptoms are rapid heart rates and chest pains. Sometimes Nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, or even constipation can be physical symptoms of becoming over-stressed. Don’t overlook other physical symptoms like frequent illness, body pain, and loss of sexual responses as indicators of being over-stressed.

Emotional Symptoms

Stress can aggravate existing emotional health problems. Various situations might pique a person’s depression, anxiety, or irritability. Isolation and loneliness can also be a person’s reaction to stressors.

Cognitive Symptoms

A person’s cognition is sometimes the first indicator of being confronted with a stressful situation. When a person becomes forgetful, can’t concentrate, is continually negative and worrying, and exercises poor decision making, they may be overwhelmed with a stressful situation.

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Behavioral Symptoms

A person’s behaviors can indicate that the person is under too much stress. Overeating, changes in sleep patterns, pacing, nail-biting, neglecting responsibilities, or procrastinating can suggest that a person may be stressed. When faced with too much stress in a person’s life, they can withdraw or try to escape through the use of drugs and alcohol.

Most of our negative, stressful situations center around relationships, finances, life events–such as death, illnesses, or injuries–and demands placed on us by other people. It does not matter what the situation is–we don’t want to be there. We don’t want to accept the circumstances; we want to resist, and our bodies respond accordingly in the struggle to get through it all.

Once a person can define the stressors, they can identify ways to maintain harmony for their health and well-being.

Eat Right, Exercise and Sleep Well

These three ingredients are the recipe for everything suitable for a person’s body. Eating a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables and quality protein helps us cope better with every one of life’s ups and downs.

Movement helps lift our moods and provides a distraction from worries. When we walk, run, swim, and dance, we can break our spirits out of a cycle of negative thoughts.


When we become accustomed to high stress, such as growing up in a stressful family environment, we not only have negative health results, but we also re-create a heightened level of stress in our lives because we are not being mindful of our own habit of stress. This can result in cyclically harming personal and professional relationships, self-sabotaging, and high anxiety. Zinc may be a good supplement to add to your diet.

Two women doing pushups on the beach

Improving our sleep helps us feel less stressed, more balanced emotionally, and improves productivity.

Extra Stress Relievers

When we build strong, satisfying connections and relationships with other people, we can trigger hormones that relieve stress. When we interact with kind and social human beings, it can help soothe our nervous systems.

We can also engage one or more senses like sight, sound, taste, smell, or touch. Maybe an uplifting song we can dance to, an animal we can pet, or a coffeehouse with a rich aroma of brewing coffee can help us feel more centered.

Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises can all be helpful techniques to bring us to a restful state when our stress response is at its worst. Practicing one or two of these techniques every day can help reduce stress levels and increase our feelings of joy.

Prioritizing in our lives can keep our stressors in perspective. Our parents, children, and families are what we love but can sometimes demand more from us than we can emotionally handle. Setting clear boundaries and taking time for self-care helps us and allows us to be more present in the lives of those who are important to us.

The stressors are not going away, but we have the power to control many of the harmful effects of our stress by consistently paying attention to what is causing uncomfortable feelings for us and exercising techniques to relax and find happiness in our daily life.


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